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Get an iPhone desktop dock-charger for $3.99

Finally, a way to prop up your iPhone at your desk, the way nature intended, without spending 50 bucks on Apple's outrageously overpriced dock.

Charge your iPhone while letting it stand proudly on your desk, all for just four bucks. Meritline

I come from a PalmPilot background. In the old days, our devices didn't connect to our computers via a stray cable that's always getting in the way. Our devices didn't lay prostrate on our desks while charging or syncing. They sat upright, faced forward, and gave us something to look at. In other words, they docked.

You can dock an iPhone, but Apple charges a whopping $49 for the privilege. Thanks, but no thanks.

Instead, I'm going the generic route: Meritline has an iPhone desktop dock-charger for $3.99 shipped. That's right: shipped. From China. No, I can't fathom how the company makes a penny of profit on the deal, but I'm not about to argue.

As you can see in the photo, it's a pretty basic dock. You plug your existing sync cable into the back, then plop your iPhone 3G or 3GS into the cradle. If you spend a good amount of time at your desk, consider finding a good clock app, or start a slideshow in Photos. In other words, put that lovely screen to use.

The dock has one extra amenity: a line-out jack. That means you can plug in a set of speakers for listening to music. That's a nice option if you're in an office that doesn't let you run iTunes or stream music.

I've ordered other dirt-cheap iPhone accessories from Meritline before, and they've all worked just fine. Do keep in mind that because of the overseas shipping, the company estimates 2-3 weeks for delivery.

If you don't mind waiting, and you're tired of that sync cable flopping around your desk, a $4 dock is pretty hard to pass up. (Note: I have no idea how long this sale price will last, and I think there's a solid chance this will sell out--so if you're interested, act fast!)

If you're just looking for a stand, not a dock, you don't have to spend a dime: Check out the four best iPhone stands money can't buy.