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External Accessories on iPhone 3.0

My initial reaction to the teasers for 3.0 was excitement. My understanding of the opening up of the accessory port to developers would allow for fun innovation. I was wrong.

The dream I had was to be able to connect my iPhone, via USB, to my camera(s). This would allow my phone to act as a remote control, and as an external screen for photos & video. The gPhoto libraries looked like they could provide a starting point.

What is actually provided doesn’t allow for straight USB connectivity.

The External Accessory support requires a validated accessory, with appropriate hardware protocols, to work. You also need to be a member of two programs, iPhone Developer and the Made for iPod program.

I can’t see Canon or Nikon releasing cameras with iPod dock connectors or protocols.

This doesn’t leave many options. One is to build a hardware device that is USB in one end and a custom protocol out the other. This gets tricky fast as the hardware device needs to figure out the camera support. And I really liked the idea of a simple cable connection being all that is required.

The second option still has some merit: WiFi. There are a few downsides. Firstly, you need a camera that supports WiFi or an expensive adaptor. This limits the audience for the app. Secondly, you need a wireless network available and to also manage pairing between your iPhone and your camera. This starts to be more equipment than desirable.

If you have a laptop lying around, onOne software released such an iPhone app.