Thanks to the enormous success of Apple's iPod there are now thousands of great iPod accessories to choose from... quite a few of which should never have left the fevered brain of their creators. Here are 10 of our least favourites.
Oh, and if you've got any other accessories you particularly despise, be sure to tell us about it in the comments at the bottom. On with the list...
1. SpongeBob SquarePants Eyeball Speaker Dock
Plug your iPod into SpongeBob's head and his boggly eyes will start to wobble and move around in time to the music. Not only is SpongeBob's head made of actual sponge, but you can even pop the eyes out for even more hilarious / disturbing fun. Your kids may well need to see a psychotherapist afterwards.
2. iCarta +
Sometimes something is so bad it has to be good. This is just bad. First unveiled at CES 2007, the iCarta is an iPod / iPhone dock combined with a 'bathroom tissue' holder, enabling you to listen to music, while covering embarrassing noises at the same time. Like the original iCarta (also still for sale at ATech's online shop), this one comes with four moisture-proof speakers - two of which are mounted in the toilet roll holder's fold-out arms. This new '+' version adds a built-in rechargeable battery, so you don't have to have a power point in your bathroom to use it. ATech says the battery should last eight hours between recharges. Should be enough toilet time for anyone.
3. Griffin Technology iKaraoke
And you thought those tinny phone speakers you have to listen to on the bus were bad... The iKaraoke is a microphone / processor for the iPhone, iPod touch, iPod nano - or any other iPod come to that - that enables you to sing along to your favourite tracks. The processor bit cleverly removes the lead vocal so you can warble over the top and, of course, the iKaraoke is portable - so it goes wherever you go. Erm, hurrah!
4. Giant earphone speakers
Iconic they maybe, but the earphones Apple supplies with its iPods are just too small for anyone with proper-sized ears - which is why we prefer these giant ones instead. Around 500 times the size of the original, they're powered by three AAA batteries and come with a USB cable, so you can also plug them into your PC, as well as most iPods. They're big, they're loud, they're proud. Don't blame us if you get mugged.
5. Edifier iPod alarm clock
These retro alarm clocks with built-in iPod dock are so good, IWOOT is giving you the chance to get three for the price of two. Which must count for something, surely? Available in black, white or pink (see, you can have one of each), the clocks come with a 9-minute snooze function, fake bells - which are actually speakers through which sound is transmitted - and a mains adaptor. Its dock is also adjustable using a dial, which enables you to alter its depth to accommodate anything from a slim iPod mini to a portly 60GB iPod video. That's quite clever. Unfortunately, the Edifier iPod clock docks are also incompatible with new iPod nanos and classic. Oh well.
6. Ixos XMI608 Disco Cube
We don't quite know whether to laugh or cry. On the one hand Ixos is famous for making high quality speaker cables and interconnects for audio / videophiles, and on the other it's churning stuff out like this. At least it does exactly what it says on the tin. Fire up your iPod and you're greeted with a nightclub-style light show with the side panels pulsing in time to the music. Sound quality should be good, thanks to the inclusion of two 2W satellites and a 3W sub, but the Disco Cube has also fallen heavily in price - from the original £75 to just £21.95 now. Oops. That could be something to do with the fact that the Disco Cube isn't compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch or iPod shuffle and because it looks a bit rubbish.
7. Solid Alliance Karrubi rare pob
Nothing quite sums up the iPod like the great look, feel and smell of fresh Wagyu beef. Well in Japan anyway. Hailing from the same crazy crew as the USB Humping Dog, this iPod nano case even comes in its own meat-counter-style packaging. Yum. [via Wired].
8. The Clone Wars i-Twin MP3 Player / Alarm Clock
Could the Lucasfilm money machine sink any lower? Not only did The Clone Wars suck even worse than the other three prequels, but now we have to put up with sub-standard merchandising too. Take one crap alarm clock with a rubbish LCD display, hew an iPod dock into it, then add a tacky face. It's enough to make a Star Wars fan weep. Honestly.
9. PB Teen Smart Technology Tune-In Bed
Successor to the infamous iBed, the Tune-In Bed enables lazy teens to loll around in their pit all day, listening to their iPods through speakers in the headboard. This version includes built-in audio inputs, a volume dial and two 5W speakers. You can even use it to charge your iPod, mobile phone or other audio devices too. Mattresses, of course, cost extra.
10. The Classic Diner CD and iPod Jukebox
Another classic piece of fluff from Hammacher Schlemmer, this an iPod dock dressed up to resemble a '50s style jukebox. To listen to a track, simply press the appropriate number and letter buttons on the base and then soak up the sounds emanating from its stereo speakers. Other goodies include a built-in FM tuner and CD player, plus a CD of 1950s / 1960s hits. Thanks.
11. Soundwalk Audio MP3 Vest SW-501
You know how it is: you're communing with nature by yomping across Bodmin, but it's quiet. Too quiet. The answer is to festoon your body with this high tech waistcoat (as well as Sony's PlayStation Portable) and then boom out your favourite tunes through its built-in speakers. The Soundwalk Audio SW-501 vest weighs only 450g and is powered by 3x AAA batteries. It even comes finished in reflective fabric so any Beasts who can't hear you will be able to see you instead. [via Cult Of Mac]
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