The Scosche PassPort ($29) adapts older, iPod accessories such as car stereos and speaker docks, to work with the iPhone and recent iPod models. Specifically, the PassPort steps down the voltage of older accessories from 12 volts to 5 volts, to address the fact that the iPhone and newer iPods models have ceased support for 12-volt charging.
The PassPort is essentially a plastic cable adapter (female to male) that attached to the end of the dock connector you wish to correct. The adapter measures a little more than an inch high, making it a little top-heavy for use in an iPod charging dock or speaker dock (Scosche sells a more expensive HomeDock version for this purpose).
Ostensibly, the PassPort is aimed at people who have an iPod-compatible car stereo that uses Apple's older 12-volt charging standard instead of the latest 5-volt standard. These car stereos can be expensive to replace (if not impossible), and are often factory-installed, making the prospect of a $29 cable adapter much more appealing than a stereo upgrade.
In most cases, the PassPort works as advertised, adapting older iPod stereos to work with the iPhone or recent models of the iPod. The iPhone is especially picky, though, and while the phone will charge with most systems we tested on, it still protests against connected devices with warnings of incompatibility and recommendations to switch into airplane mode.
When CNET TV's Molly Wood gave the PassPort a try with her iPhone 3G, it was a spectacular failure that sent her phone into a conniption of flashing screens and pop-up warnings. After doing some research, we traced the problem back to the model of stereo in her car. Apparently, the PassPort doesn't play nice with some Pioneer head units, or factory car stereos from BMW or Mercedes.
Issues of compatibility are likely beyond Scosche's control. Honestly, if you're going to blame anyone for this mess, blame Apple for changing their charging standards on a whim. However, while I can empathize with the challenge Scosche faces with a product such as this, in the end, the real world performance of the PassPort is hit-or-miss and the design allows for only limited applications.