Is Phonak iCube II going obsolete on me? Yes it is!

Yes, Phonaks proprietary hearing aid programming device (iCube II) is going obsolete just like its predecessor iCube went obsolete, Will it go obsolete in the exact same way as iCube went obsolete? No, it won’t be exactly the same.

First a little history; A funny thing happened between the Phonak V-Venture platform and the Phonak M-Marvel platform. The funny thing that happened is the (partially-old-technology/partially-new-technology) B-Belong platform.

The B-Belong platform had only one hearing aid model with new technology, namely the B-Direct which uses the new SWORD chip. The other models in the B-Belong platform are clones* from the previous platform, old-technology, V-Venture models.

Sorry for using the word *clones (see footnote explanation below). While clone is not an exact description, I think it will suffice to show my meaning.

  • Does iCube II work on the one new-technology model (B-Direct) in the B-Belong platform using the new SWORD chip? No. It only works on older technology (non SWORD Chip).
  • Does iCube II work on the remaining old-technology *cloned models in the B-Belong platform? Yes, it works on the older technology.
  • Does iCube II work for new-technology models in the next M-Marvel platform using the new SWORD chip? No, not at all.
  • Will iCube II be removed from the later versions of Phonak Target fitting software? I dunno.

As an aside;

  • Some will advise you to buy iCube II now because it still works on some old-technology models. Personally, I wouldn’t do that. You should make your own decision.
  • Some will advise you to use a wired programming device (mini Pro or Hi Pro) in place of iCube II. Personally, I wouldn’t give up the convenience of wireless programming. Hint: look at Noahlink Wireless.

*Footnote: I used terms like clones, old technology, new technology. Allow me to explain how/why I have come to this conclusion.

When Phonak introduces a new platform with new hearing aid models they provide documentation for the new models in a Product Information document , for example Phonak Audéo B Product information. Professional Audiologists use these documents to review any new features that may or may not benefit their customers.

If you are still following, the Product Information documents did reveal a big surprise with the B-Belong models. That is, (aside from the one new B-Direct model) the other B-Belong models are the same technology/features as the V-Venture platform! You can research this yourself if you decide to do so.

Or you can look at this table-form feature comparison of V-Venture vs B-Belong that I have already done a long time ago;
Phonak Audéo V90.pdf <-VS-> Phonak Audéo B90

To be fair, there are some differences. But they are relatively minor and this post is long enough.