Photos have turned up claiming to show Apple's revamped iPhone 5 dock connector plug, showing 8 electrical contacts on each site of the plug.
The images were posted on the French website Nowherelse.fr, but no details have been offered as to the origin of the photos.
I've got to admit that I'm not convinced that these plugs are genuine. If they are real then perhaps they are prototypes or an engineering sample. There's an awful lot of wasted space on either side of the plug that doesn't look like the elegant Apple engineering and attention to fine detail that we're used to.
Also, I have a hard time believing that Apple would design a plug connector with exposed electrical contacts as these would dramatically increase the risk of an electrical short.
There's been a lot of speculation that Apple is preparing to abandon the 30-pin dock connector that has adorned the iPod, iPhone and iPad for almost a decade and replace it with a smaller, more modern connector.
The catalyst for all these rumors seems to be the a video showing a metal chassis purporting to belong to the upcoming iPhone 5 that was posted to YouTube by parts reseller ETradeSupply. This showed a much smaller slot for the dock connector and a headphone jack hole that was moved to the bottom of the iPhone. This metal chassis . Alleged blueprints for the chassis have also been leaked.
Initial rumor suggested that 11 pins were going to be dropped from the 30-pin dock connector, making the new connector a 19-pin far more svelte and slender than the current offering. Cult of Mac found that there are indeed 11 pins that could safely be dropped from the current 30. These include eight pins that supported FireWire and a further three that handled video-out functionality for the now defunct iPod Color and iPod Photo devices.
However, in recent weeks further rumors have surfaced suggesting that Apple could shave even more pins from the connector. 16-pin and 8-pin connectors are the most popular suggestions. These two rumors appear to be linked in that it has been suggested that the male connector -- such as that found on the connector cable -- will have 8-pins on each side, while the female connector -- found on the device -- has only 8 pins on one side. This would allow the iPhone to be connected in either orientation to a male connector or docking port, and this is what the alleged plug shown above seems to show.
Image source: Nowherelse.fr.