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Dock Your iPhone to Your ShoreTel Phone? Coming Soon! Sort of…

ShoreTel Dock with iPad - This image copyright ShoreTel. Not used with PermissionI saw a press release for ShoreTel Dock this morning. Heard about it through the grapevine a few months ago but wasn’t sure what it was. Here’s the ShoreTel announcement page for it.
I looked over the specs for the Dock phone and I have to say, that as big a fanboy as I am of ShoreTel and their products, I’m completely unimpressed with this.
The biggest problem is compatibility. The system will work with iPhone 4/4S, the iPad 2/3rd Generation (The first New iPad), as well as the fourth generation iPod touch. This is a problem and a huge lack of foresight on ShoreTel’s part. Sure there are plenty of these Apple devices out there but they are being quickly replaced by the iPhone 5, iPad “4”, and the 5th Generation iPod touches. People are buying the iPad Mini, which the phone isn’t compatible with either.
Basically it will work with the last two generations of iOS devices with the larger 30 pin connector, but nothing with the lightning connector. So if you get this thing you are essentially limiting yourself to an old iOS device.
That being said, I hope ShoreTel has used a modular design with this phone so that in some point in the future you can swap out the dock connector for the lightning port without having to buy another $600 phone. There are adapters for Apple 30 pin to Lightning connections so that you don’t have to replace all your stuff. Maybe one of these would work but I somehow doubt it.
This is doubly aggravating because if this device works like all of ShoreTel’s other devices, the iPad doesn’t communicate with the phone through the connector anyway. I would guess it actually ‘talks to the phone’ over the network through the server. The dock is probably just a charging station that tells the phone to launch the app. It will magically work whether the device is plugged in or not. Maybe it reads digits, but everything else is probably ‘faked’ through the server. I could be wrong, but this seems to be how ShoreTel does things in general. If it does work like this, there is no reason at all that ShoreTel could not offer a kit with this phone to make it work with an iPhone 5. Hopefully we’ll see that soon.
I’d like to see an Android compatible device like this for those of us into Samsung devices. That one could made to work just as well with Blackberry and some Windows phones with the micro-USB connectors.

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