Your old iPhone might not run the latest apps or hold a charge all day, but it’s still an amazing little machine, capable of upgrading almost any appliance in your home, if only there was a way to make that happen.
The iReadyO radio ($83), a new Kickstarter project by the Korean design studio PlusD, is more or less built upon this philosophy. It’s essentially a big, dumb iPhone case, with a white body inspired by Dieter Rams’s midcentury designs for Braun (most specifically, the Braun TP1). But slip in your iPhone, and it becomes a cloud-connected music player with physical controls, an extra battery, and a decent speaker.
Many of these upgrades are purely mechanical. The iReadyO’s big volume buttons are just levers that hit the iPhone’s volume buttons, for instance. And that’s a small enough thing to beg the question: Why is it different than any iPhone dock you’ve ever known?
Maybe it’s not. You’re still plugging your phone into a system that amplifies its sound, after all. But the presentation makes the experience is different and new. Through little more than a new case, an old iPhone can become a boombox–a dumb tank of a speaker that can be set on the shelf or brought to a beach. And maybe more importantly, an old iPhone can become something that doesn’t feel like an old iPhone. It can be put to use again.