Apparently there are still enough people buying iPhone docks that Apple can't fully walk away from the accessory — even though it's tried more than once. Today the company quietly introduced a "Lightning Dock" that supports devices from the iPhone 5 and up. With the new dock's design, your iPhone (or iPod touch) simply sits on top of a $39 piece of plastic. It looks awkward and more than a bit unsteady, but the flexibility means you'll never have to purchase another dock again. Like Apple's previous tries, this one includes a Lightning port for pass-through charging / syncing and a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can play music to an external speaker while the iPhone is docked.
But the pricing here is a bit tough to swallow. If this thing were aluminum like Twelve South's HiRise, perhaps that would justify the price tag. But it's a tiny chunk of white plastic with some circuitry inside. If the goal is showcasing an iPhone or keeping it safe on your desk, the HiRise or other, less expensive options from Amazon sellers still seem like smarter buys.
If there's one Apple product truly in need of a dock, it's most certainly the Apple Watch. But unless you're paying at least $10,000 for one, Apple's best solution is having you plop its pricy smartwatch down on the charging cable and being done with it. Thankfully here again, companies like Spigen are rising to address the absence of any official accessory from Apple.