I've been using an iPhone 4S for quite some time, with the standard Apple 30-pin USB to dock connector cable. This has always worked fine, no hassle (apart from the extortionate price of the cables!)
However, just recently, I decided to upgrade to the iPhone 5S. For speed, for features, for the screen size, for all the new goodies. In fact, the lightning connector was one of the things that enticed me to purchase due to its size and flexibility (you no longer have to worry about which way around you insert the cable.) But then.........
I hopped in my car and went to connect my phone to charge using the Parrot MKi9200, only to suffer the sudden blinding realisation that it comes with the standard 30-pin dock cable integrated. Doh! I thought. Well, ok, off to eBay to purchase myself a nice little 30-pin to lightning adaptor. I found one easily and the price was reasonable at about €5 so I ordered it straight away. It never occurred to me for a second that it might only charge the phone but not permit digital audio output.
So the adaptor arrived and I promptly ran to my car to try it out. I plugged it in and....... nothing. Not a thing. Not so much as a "This device is not supported" message. Hmm... I thought. What the heck?? I played around with it for a little while and then got busy and had to leave it. It sat in my car for a few weeks connected to the dock cable and every so often I'd try it again but then just get too busy to worry about it.
Today, I finally took it back out of the car to test it with a standard dock cable in the house and see if perhaps the adaptor was faulty. I connected it to a standard cable, plugged it into my Mac and hooked it up to the phone. Again, nothing. Then it dawned on me. It's the case. There is a small ridge at the bottom of the case that I use which means that the adaptor is not entering the slot fully. Having removed the case, I connected the adaptor and suddenly it started to charge. Damn! That's exactly what I didn't want!!
This is what the adaptor that I bought looks like:
If there's one thing I won't do, it's remove the case from my iPhone in order to use any accessory. If it won't fit with the case on, it's no use to me. So I figured, not to worry, I'll go looking for a nice little 30-pin dock to lightning cable instead. Something like this for example:
Looking around, I did find a few of these. They were a little more expensive, but I figured it would be worth it. Then I started to read the reviews. That only made me go back and read the reviews of the original adaptor that I bought. In all cases, the results were the same. Digital audio output is not supported. Basically, these cables and adaptors would only charge and wouldn't allow me to use the audio features of my Parrot car kit. So off I went to the online Apple store to see if they had an "original" one which might support audio. Well, yes, of course they do. Including delivery the price of the cable is no less than €45!!
I sat staring at the screen for a while, then I did some more searching elsewhere, I read more reviews and finally came back to the Apple store. I stared at the price a while longer and read some of the reviews on their own site. Then I read this article:
This helped me to make my decision, as it categorically states that this original Apple cable will do exactly what I want with the kit I have. Still sickened by the price, I decided to go ahead and purchase it because the alternative is to change the car kit which will cost a lot more than €45. Needless to say, it has left a bitter taste in my mouth, but at least I'll be able to charge my phone while driving again and listen to my music while I do it.
My advice is this: when you're looking for these kind of adaptors, read the small print carefully. The cheap ones very often don't work and if they do, they may not support all the features you are looking for. The original adaptor that I bought will serve as a charger for my phone with one of my old cables, but only if I remove the case (which I would only do if I was really stuck). Effectively, it's made the price of my new cable more than €50 which doesn't make me a very happy camper!