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I have a Phillips alarm clock with iPod dock and an iPhone 4. When I got the iPhone 4 first, when i docked it with the alaram clock, i got an message on the screen of the iPhone saying that "This accessory is not designed to work with the iPhone and may cause interference", but after the upgrade to iOS5, this message does not occur. I did notice with iOS4 that interference would happen when playing music on the iPhone, but now it does not seem to happen...

And it started to make me think: How did my device "learn" to play nicely with the iPhone 4? Was it the iPhone that was tweaked? and either way, can Apple push down updates to these devices? I know thats a lot of devices, but could it happen?

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I'm going to guess it's more likely Apple included better backwards-compatability in their later iOS updates. Each dock would have it's own unique process to update firmware, and probably doesn't report it's make and model to the iPhone anyway. –  Hand-E-Food Dec 15 '11 at 22:13
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Apple does not update the firmware of third party devices. But the iOS updates are a mixture of firmware and software updates to your phone. The firmware updates make very low-level changes to how the hardware systems operate, allowing for the possibility that the firmware changes in iOS5 changed the behavior of the iPhone's dock connector to make it better compatible with devices that were previously incompatible or only partially compatible.

The best way to get a definite confirmation of that theory is to consult the device manufacturer's support system or user forum. If that's what happened, you won't be the only one who experienced the change.

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thanks. that answers the question... i was just wondering, as i said, that the device "magically" worked after updating to iOS5... –  TiernanO Dec 16 '11 at 11:05
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The accessory has to meet very strict design requirements from Apple to connect on the 30Pin connector. And the approval requires to work with the latest version of iOS. Due to this, the earlier versions of iOS may give you some error messages in some conditions.

Not having seen your accessory, I would take a guess it would be due to the resistors that are connected to the USB D+/D- lines if it is only a charge only device (or) the authentication chip would be the latest version 2C

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