If there is one thing many Android devices have that iPhone users don’t have access to, it’s an external notification light that lets you know when a new email, call, or service event is available for you. As a Galaxy Nexus user, I rely on the little blinking multicolored light to let me know when Facebook and Google+ notifications come in. It also lets me know when I miss a call or text message, and it’s this customization that makes the phone so useful to me (especially when I’m in a situation where audio or vibration notifications would be too distracting).
Enter myLED, a project currently hosted on Kickstarter that promises to turn your iPhone’s audio jack into an LED notification light with variable blink rates depending on the type of notification you’ve received. It’s a very small and simple design, almost no bigger than the jack itself. Two LED lights (both red) blink at rates set by the myLED app to notify you of various goings on with your iOS device.
myLED doesn’t just work with the iPhone. It works with iPad as well.
Reserving your own myLED can be done on Kickstarter for just $15 right now. That’s a low price for any iPhone accessory, and this one actually does something other than just make it look a little cooler.
Who Would Want This?
Anyone with hearing issues who doesn’t want to have a phone in their pocket every minute of every day. Sitting your iPhone on a counter or at your desk and responding to a silent blinking light is a lot easier than checking it constantly to see if something came through while you turned your head momentarily. Additionally, this would be an ideal feature for professionals who work in an environment where vibrating phones and ring tones are strongly discouraged. A blinking light is far less distracting in a meeting than a phone vibrating across the table surface.
My wife, for example, keeps her phone in her purse where vibrations aren’t easily picked up. If she could open her purse and look for a flashing red light to check for new messages, it would save her the time and trouble of having to take her phone out and check every once in a while.
As of right now, you have to have the myLED app open when you lock your device in order to receive visual notifications. This means you have to take an extra step in order to get it to work. Battery life impact isn’t terrible. Testing revealed 80 hours of standby time available on an iPad with the app open.
Another downside is that you lose access to your audio jack when the indication light is connected. This makes it a fine accessory for times when you have your phone idly sitting on a desk or in a purse, but it doesn’t do very much good if you happen to be streaming music or you want to have earbuds connected and ready for when you do receive a call. You have to remember to put it in the jack before you put it down.
myLED doesn’t currently work with iPhone 5, but the developers are working on a fix for this. Presently, myLED is tested and fully operational on iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, iPad 2, and the new iPad.