Buying the iPhone 5? Prepare to buy new, replacement accessories

Summary:If Apple does change the dock connector, then brace yourself, because you're going to have to replace everything that you currently connector to your iPhone via the dock connector.

Are you already lusting after an iPhone 5 despite the fact that Apple hasn't even acknowledged it exists yet? If so, then you better prepare yourself for upgrading not only to the new handset, but also the possibility of upgrading your vast array of accessories.

With almost every new gadget comes the inevitable cost of buying new accessories. Every new smartphone I've bought has necessitated the purchase of new stuff, such as a case or an in-car charger.

However, once the iPhone 5 is released, I'm bracing myself for a significant hit to my wallet as I come to terms with having to buy a whole raft of new accessories.

Why is the iPhone 5 different to any other previously released iPhone?

According to the rumor mill, Apple is preparing to replace the 30-pin dock connector found on the bottom of every iPhone ever made with a newer -- and not to mention smaller -- dock connector.

Before we go any further, it has to be said that there has been no official confirmation from Apple that the dock connector on the iPhone is changing.

TechCruch's John Biggs may have used the word "confirmed" in a headline to describe the connector change, but Biggs used the word in the loosest possible sense. In my opinion, nothing can be confirmed until we see it in Tim Cook's hand at the official announcement (or an Apple employee loses a prototype iPhone at a bar).

Here's a condensed version of the current iPhone dock connector rumors:

  • New connector is going to be a 19-pin connector as opposed to the current 30-pin connector;
  • The new connector will save a hefty chunk of space inside the iPhone, as much as 50 percent smaller than the current connector;
  • New dock connector will feature a magnetic connector, similar to the MagSafe connector found on MacBook systems;
  • The new dock connector is supposed to be more water resistant;
  • The new dock connector will be 'chipped' in such a way that unlicensed peripherals -- including possibly cables -- won't work.

Bottom line, if Apple does change the dock connector, you're going to have to replace everything that currently plugs into your iPhone's dock connector, including chargers, in-car chargers, FM transmitters, music docks, and so on.

Everything.

If your car has is kitted out with a 30-pin connector then that's also going to become obsolete. However, depending on your car, you might be in luck here and not have to replace the entire car. Many built-in in-car connectors are simply a 30-pin to USB connector, so it should be possible to retrofit these with the new connector.

Assuming you can do this, while it's not likely to be too expensive, it will be cheaper than replacing the whole car.

Last time I mentioned the possibility of Apple changing the dock connector, a few readers emailed to tell me that it would only be a matter of time before a third-party came up with an adapter to convert to allow old hardware to work with the new dock. If this new supposed dock does turn out to be chipped to prevent unlicensed hardware being attached to the iPhone, then best of luck with that.

While I think that it would be a good idea for Apple to replace the dock connector with something smaller -- the current connector is large and somewhat clumsy -- changing the connector introduces problems, especially if Apple continues to offer older iPhone models featuring the 30-pin dock connector. This would mean that accessory makers are going to have to build and carry two different product lines.

Just looking around at all the accessories that I connect to my iPhone, if Apple does change the dock connector and I end up upgrading, then I'm looking at replacing about ten different accessories.

My wallet is already groaning.

Image source: ETradeSupply/YouTube.

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Topics: iPhone, Apple, Mobility

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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