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Know what you are getting and why
on January 20, 2013
This adapter is more than just a connector change. It also has an Digital-to-Analog converter built in for supplying line level audio. This is why the Apple adapter is more expensive and why it's the only one able to play audio on most systems.
The original 30 pin dock supplied a digital signal, analog audio, video, and more; the new Lightning port is digital only. Analog audio is still available via the headphone jack.
What do you need?
1. If your iPhone interfaces with your stereo through a USB connection, then you can use any adapter available on Amazon, even the cheap ones.
2. If your current dock connects to the radio via a 3.5mm stereo plug, RCA connection, or a cassette adapter, then you will have to use this adapter.
3. If the dock interfaces directly with the audio device, then it could be either digital or analog. You will have to research this yourself. Find out what your device uses and get the appropriate adapter (check the owners manual, contact the manufacturer, do your homework and don't be lazy).
Why would Apple do this?
More and more equipment is going full digital. The components and software used by the digital to analog converter can greatly affect the sound quality. This conversion would be handled far better by radio manufacturers than by Apple. Not to mention that we finally get to ditch the cumbersome, ugly, limited, and outdated 30 pin dock. Technology moves forward...