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CHAPTER 1: Accessory Overview
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Table 1 1. iPhone Accessory Potential Usage
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Specialty area
Game Controller
Other areas of eCommerce potential include the concept of an electronic wallet. Imagine a set of banking accounts kept on your phone checking and credit instantly accessible for any type of purchase. Scary, isn t it Now imagine that it was only usable by the owner of those accounts identified biometrically through a device connected to your iPhone. Without your fingerprint on the sensor, the information is completely useless. Think about going to the local big-box retailer, or even your local chain grocery store. They provide an in-store WiFi that allows your iPhone app to see all the products on the shelves. You get a map of where it is and can tally up the total in your cart. With a small bar-code scanner connected to your iPhone this becomes simple. Medical accessories provide a huge potential area of development. Think about a blood glucose monitor that attaches to your iPhone and keeps a database of all your measurements and graphical tracking of history. It s only a small leap to imagine that it could warn you ahead of time of possible events that you could prevent. Or, imagine an accessory for taking your blood pressure that records the time and date of each reading. When you go to your doctor, you no longer have to remember to bring the several handwritten pieces of paper; you just pass him off your file and he can instantly see your progress. Game controllers, measurement devices, e-commerce applications think of anything there is a reasonably sophisticated electronic device for now, and imagine how it can be replaced with an accessory and an iPhone. Table 1 1 shows only a few of the potential areas that have now become your new frontier as an iPhone accessory developer. You now have the potential to be one of
CHAPTER 1: Accessory Overview
those rags-to-riches stories from the early days of the App Store. That s what this book is about.
Accessories: A View From Above
A while back, accessory was defined. To reiterate: an accessory, for the discussions in this book, is any external hardware device that connects to the iPhone via the dock connector at the bottom of the phone. Before digging into the details of accessories, let s first talk a little bit about the iPhone. Figure 1 1 provides one view of the major components of an iPhone.
Figure 1 1. Basic iPhone Organization
From our point of view as accessory designers, the iPhone has three basic parts: Communications Hardware: After all, the biggest part of iPhone is phone. Processing Hardware: The tiny computer inside the phone. Interfaces: How you get into and out of the phone. NOTE: The development of hardware accessories is not limited to just the iPhone but the iPod Touch as well. Wherever iPhone is used, be aware that iPod Touch may be used as well. For this discussion, the phone section will not be of concern. It s not that the phone couldn t play a significant part in the overall application. For example, a credit card
CHAPTER 1: Accessory Overview
terminal relies heavily on connectivity to the user s merchant services account and inventory database. But that connectivity is dealt with in the iPhone app that communicates with those services. Normally, following the good practices of software compartmentalization, those services would reside within their own controller with its own set of properties and methods. NOTE: Although this book focuses primarily on the software aspect of interfacing with hardware accessories, the system architecture and hardware aspects will be covered in order to provide background for the reader wishing to construct his or her own accessories. As developers of accessory components for the iPhone, we understand that we need to deal with the interface component. The device connects via the 30-pin dock at the bottom or possibly via wireless using Bluetooth. To make the accessory physically work with the iPhone, it must have either a mating 30-pin connector or be capable of using Bluetooth. NOTE: As stated earlier, Bluetooth accessory interfacing will not be covered in this book. Finally, in the middle of Figure 1 1 sits the processor. I believe that the processor is what makes the iPhone unique among its peers. In my day-to-day life, I own and operate a Macintosh repair shop, although 90% of my customers are iPhone users who have either cracked their screen or dropped their phone in water. There are a few other problems that come up, but these two are far and away the vast majority. What I have discerned from over one thousand iPhone customers is that iPhone users look at the device in one of two ways: they see it as a phone or they see it as a small computer. Which group is correct Well, that doesn t matter, but what does matter is the group that sees this little piece of technology as something more than a phone, seem to get a lot more use from it. This group understands that at the heart of this phone is a small but powerful computer. A computer that is general purpose in nature and that you can instruct to do your bidding. The little computer at the heart of the iPhone performs three basic functions: Low-level hardware control of the internal circuitry Runs a slimmed-down version of Mac OS (iPhone OS) Executes user created programs (apps) Figure 1 2 shows the inside of a 3G logic board with all its constituent parts.
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