Apple doesn’t let its biggest seller just hang out with any ol’ accessory, it makes them go through the full father-cleaning-his-shotgun interview before a device can woo the heart of iOS and its customer base. So perhaps it was in response to the Android Accessory Development Kit (ADK) announced at Google IO that Apple decided to approve Make Magazine MakerSHED’s Redpark Breakout Pack for home consumption. The kit has an Apple Dock Connector at one end and a serial port on the other. This allows any serial device to attach to it, but it comes with a board to connect an Arduino. This means a serious jump in the ease of prototyping hardware for the iPhone. Here are the details.

Before I get anyone yelling at me, I had best mention that the kit is available for Android, too. But since Android’s parents don’t care who it hangs out with behind the bleachers, it isn’t quite as big a deal — though it is notably cheaper than the ADK for those who already have an Arduino or two hanging around. It costs $85.98.

The contents of the Redpark connection kit from the MakerSHED store.
The contents of the Redpark connection kit from the MakerSHED store.

There are some limits to the communications as well. The serial interface only allows speeds up to 57.6 Kbps, but for most uses, that should be just fine. Also, the cable, purportedly, only works with the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, 4th gen iPod Touch, iPad and iPad2, which continues to leave me wondering what to do with my old iPhone 3G.

So aside from taking it slow and being picky about her partners, Arduino is now ready to start rocking out with a whole new crowd of users. iPhone users. Oh boy. Can’t wait to start seeing projects take advantage of this!

Update: Since the MakerSHED typically buys in bulk, it looks like the kit is already temporarily sold out, but if you were just interested in the cable, they are available here.

Photos: Maker SHED and