According to figures just released by Gartner, Apple sold 191.4 million smartphones last year. Sure, a bunch of these are probably being tightly gripped by smiling new owners, but undoubtedly a great number were bought to replace older devices, banishing their predecessors to bottom drawers and storage boxes all over the world. Well, designer David Choi has a plan to breathe new life into unused iPhones, by integrating them with a Bluetooth speaker to act as a retro-inspired digital radio.
Choi's design is a clear throwback to the vintage, analog radios of 1950s and 60s. A lover of radio himself, Choi says nostalgia for a childhood brimming with stories and music delivered by the medium was the driving force behind the i Ready O. But despite taking inspiration from classic radio designs, Choi's device is really just a speaker, which is completely dependent on the connected iPhone for sourcing tunes.
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Both the iPhone 5 and 5S can be slotted into the speaker's mount and will fit tightly, while a simple tab folds out to hold the smaller iPhone 4 or 4S in place. The device obscures everything but the phone's display, with a red button corresponding with the iPhone's home button and two volume buttons atop, all styled in the same vintage manner.
The speaker's handle also features a tilt-lock mechanism that enables it to be positioned at different angles, while a slide out foot on its side makes it possible to be used horizontally as well. Tilting the handle will also uncover the phone's charge and earphone ports, if the user needs to access them. There's also an inbuilt compartment for storing things like an extra charging cable, auxiliary battery, or extra set of earphones.
While there is nothing to stop iPhone owners sliding their current devices into i Ready O, it would probably make trying to use it as a phone a little problematic. Choi is therefore angling his solution at those with older devices that they don't have a whole lot of use for.
The device itself stands 7.4 in (18.8 cm) tall, 5.5 in (14 cm) wide and 2.4 in (6 cm) thick. An iPhone can be charged while inside the device, and the speaker's built in battery should last for up to five hours of use.
Choi is looking to raise CAD$60,000 (US$48,000) on Kickstarter to bring his i Ready O to market. Early pledges of $88 (US$71) will put you in line for one, with shipping estimated for July 2015 if all goes to plan. You can check out the pitch video below.