Monday, July 18, 2011

Connect your iPhone to the real world

The arrival of Google's Accessory Development Kit (ADK) for Android, which allows you to connect your Android handset to an Arduino-based development board was seen by some as the beginning of the end for Apple's restrictive Made for iPod (MFi) program.

Today we discovered Apple's response to Google's ADK, and while it's still inside a crunchy MFi wrapper, the program is now a bit gooey in the middle, as today saw the release of the Serial Cable for iOS from Redpark.

The cable is a fully MFi approved external accessory that allows home-hobbiests to talk to external hardware, no jailbreak required. On one end of the cable is a dock connector that plugs directly into your iOS device. On the other, is an RS-232 serial port that you can easily connect to anything that speaks a serial protocol.

Suddenly connecting your iPhone to the real world became a lot easier, easier in fact than using Google's ADK.

I've been working with the pre-release version of the cable for a couple of months now and I've put up some sample code to get you started. Including a rather nifty Universal application for the iPhone and iPad which will let you directly control an Arduino board. I've dubbed it the "Paduino."

The "Paduino" application.

Because someone had to...?

 
A simple "Push the Button" example.

Also in the works, but not quite ready yet, is a book which will walk you through how to use the cable and how to integrate your iPhone or iPad into the Internet of Things.

Finally if you're at OSCON next week I'll be talking about the cable and how to use it on Thursday. We're hoping to have an early-release copy of the book ready by then.

I can't wait to see what people can do with this...