Serial ports on an iPhone?

hc gilje posted some useful notes on accessing the serial ports of an iPhone. Bottom line:

Apple has not made it easy to let the iphone communicate with external devices. Basically, you need a jailbroken phone to do anything.

That said, his notes are useful for anyone who’s really really got to get at the serial port.

Other ways of getting sensors into the iPhone include Tellart’s NADAMobile, which uses the microphone input as an analog input, and Brian Jepson’s PhoneGap solution, which uses ethernet and an ethernet shield.

Rob Faludi just turned me on to CoolTerm, a serial terminal app for OSX and Windows. It looks like a nice addition, and is cross platform, which is handy for teaching; no need to reference different apps on different platforms. I’ve only tried it out a little, but so far, it’s nice. You can have multiple ports open in multiple windows, and you can see bytes in ASCII or hex. It’d be nice to see them in decimal too, but that’s just a wish.