The new Lightning connector for the Apple iPhone 5, fourth-gen iPad and iPad mini has caused some controversy, but it has plenty of advantages. It's 80 percent smaller than the previous 30-pin dock connector (enabling thinner designs). And, because it's reversible, there's no wrong way to plug the connector into your iGadget. After a slow start, vendors are finally rolling out Lightning-compatible gear. Belkin, iLuv and Scosche are among the first to debut accessories, such as car and wall chargers and speaker docks. Here are our top Lightning accessory picks so far.
JBL OnBeat Micro ($99.95)
Whether you like to download songs from iTunes or stream from Spotify or Pandora, you're going to want a speaker dock to rock out with your iPhone 5. JBL's OnBeat Micro does just that, with its two full-range transducers that JBL says will fill a room with sound. The speaker dock charges your phone, and USB and line-in ports let other devices join in on the fun. Four AAA batteries supply up to 5 hours of listening time when you're away from an outlet.
Scosche strikeLINE ($29.99)
Compatible with iPod touch, iPhone 5, iPad mini and iPad (4th-gen), Scosche's strikeLINE is a retractable charge-and-sync cable that extends up to three feet. A great solution for those who travel a lot or just need a super-portable charger, the strikeLINE lets you charge all of the Apple devices with one cable without worrying about tangled cords.
iLuv Premium Coiled Charge/Sync Cable ($24.99)
This cable with Lightning connector charges and syncs your iPhone 5, iPad (4th-gen), iPad Mini or iPod touch. Its coiled cord ensures that it doesn't easily get tangled, and connects to your computer or AC adapter via USB 2. Stretching to six feet, iLuv's Premium Coiled Charge/Sync Cable is double-shielded.
Belkin Charge and Sync Dock ($29.99)
Belkin's dock lets you charge and sync your iPhone 5 or iPod touch (5th gen) quickly and easily. To use, just remove the magnetic base from the dock, then feed your Lightning cable through the cable channel. Replace the magnetic base and you're good to go. You can listen to tunes on your Apple device while docked through headphones or by connecting to a stereo system via AUX cable.
Griffin PowerJolt SE ($22.99)
For those who spend a lot of time on the road, Griffin's PowerJolt SE charges all your Apple devices (iPhone 5, iPad 4th-gen and iPad mini). Pop it into your 12-volt accessory outlet, and its 10-watt charging circuit will power up your devices quickly. The coiled cable eliminates tangles and stretches four feet. Its SmartFuse guards against power fluctuations while your Apple gadgets are charging.