Review: iHome iB969 charging station - Macenstein

Review: iHome iB969 charging station

iHome iB969

iHome has a long history of supplying innovative, well-designed, and horribly named accessories for Apple gear. The iB969 continues these traditions. What is it? Well, you wouldn’t know from the name, but the iB969 is a 4-in-1 charging station designed to charge pretty much any portable device out there, although it throws a definite nod to the iPod, iPad, and iPhone.

The iB969 comes with two built-in dock connector wells designed to fit pretty much any iPhone or iPod model. iHome includes its usual slew of adapters designed to give a snug fit to your specific iPod model. This is important because while your iPhone and iPod will fit in the dock wells without an adapter, after months of occasional use, odds are you’ll put a little too much strain on the dock pin connector if it is sort of holding your device upright.

For iPad charging, iHome has opted for the “bring your own cable” route. On the underside of the iB969 are two USB ports, one designed with a little more power for devices like the iPad, and the other for charging lamer devices, like Kindles and Nooks and crap. While the iHome iB969 is overall a fairly simple and straight forward device (ie, there’s very little room for pilot error) it is still a good reason to read the setup guide carefully, as being sure you’re using the right ports for the right devices will save you some aggravation.

The underside of the unit has various cable management canals designed to help you minimize cord clutter. The ports are clearly labeled (ie “iPad” and “Standard”) so there’s little chance of confusion. Each port also has an “A/B” switch, designed to save you a little power – iHome suggests starting out with the switch set to “B”, and if it doesn’t charge, it means you need more power, so flick it to “A”. It’s a nice “green” touch that will earn iHome some extra points with “save the planet” types like my wife and Ed Begley Jr..

iHome iB969

I feel a device such as this is meant to be placed in a “common” area of the house, such as a kitchen counter, but on the odd chance you decide to plug this in near one of your computers, you CAN sync your iPhone to your computer while it’s still docked in the iB969. The left most cradle has a “Sync” switch, which will toggle whether or not the iPhone syncs with an attached computer. iHome includes a USB syncing cable to connect to your Mac, as well as a few different types of USB cables and adapters to help make charging different devices easier. Included is a 12-inch Sony eReader to USB cable, a 12-inch mini USB cable and a mini USB to micro USB adapter.

Rounding out the list of features is the ability to extend the base of the device, for the laying down of various large devices, such as the iPad, Kindle, etc. There’s actually a long slot along the rear of the iB969 for holding your iPad upright while charging, but if you have a case on your iPad, there’s a good chance it will not fit and you may end up laying your iPad down. I actually prefer this, as when the iPad is standing up behind two charging iPhones, there is more of a chance that you may bump them while removing the iPad, and possibly subjecting the dock connector pins to more stress than they want.


There isn’t too much bad to say about the iB969, although I will say that I wish there was not the need for the different device inserts for the two docking wells. I’m a two iPhone, two iPod touch house (plus an iPad) and I just want to be able to drop whatever device I have into whatever open slot there is. I don’t like having to remove an insert in order to put a different device in to charge. iHome has taken this adapter approach since its beginning, and I doubt they’ll change, but I can dream. There simply has to be a better way to make an adjustable holder that conforms to the device. So against iHome’s recommendations, I do not use ANY adapter, and I am sure it is only a matter of time before one of the ports craps out and stops charging due to the gradual strain of the weight of an unsupported (weight wise) device. A nice added benefit of ignoring iHome’s advice is that you can fit an iPhone with a thin case or bumper. The idea that I would remove my iPhone from its case each time to charge is almost as ridiculous as the idea that I am going to keep all the adapters handy and swap them out each time as well.

iHome iB969
Above: That cool black iPad cable is NOT included

My only other gripe is a minor one, but I feel iHome should have included the black iPad/iPhone charging cable they show in all the pictures. I don’t know where to get a black iPhone cable, but iHome does NOT include it, so you are left to use your OWN cable to charge your iPad, so hopefully you have an extra or two lying around. Unfortunately, the white cable doesn’t look nearly as nice as the black cable iHome has.


I am currently a FIVE iOS device household, so the iB969 is a bit of a Godsend. While it’s nice that the iB969 can charge pretty much ANY USB powered device, I would have liked to see just a LITTLE more Apple-love from the company in the way of an extra Dock cable. It’s nice that it supports the charging of a Sony eReader, but seriously, how many of those are out there? 10, maybe 20 tops? The fact that iHome opted to include a charging cable for such an obscure device over the iPad, which they are clearly marketing the device towards, seems like a huge oversight. Still, perhaps that’s just me being greedy. Odds are Apple charges some exorbitant licensing fee for each cable, and at the end of the day, I DO have a couple extra iPhone cables lying around I am able to use. So a big thumbs up from me on the iHome iB969.

Price: $59.99
Pros: Can theoretically charge FOUR iOS devices at once (assuming you have two charging cables you can hook to it, can charge other USB devices like phones and eBook readers, overall small footprint and nice design
Cons: The need to use adapter for different iOS devices is annoying, as is the lack of support for keeping your deivce in its case while charging in a dock well. No included cable for the iPad seems lame

One Response to “Review: iHome iB969 charging station”
  1. Jonro says:

    Interesting. Thanks for the review.

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