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

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.

TOPICS: iPhone, Apple, Mobility

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.


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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  • I have to ask why you're buying so many accessories

    Why not try buying a phone that doesn't need a case? I laugh at people who won't buy a phone because it's not sleek then immediately proceed to add more mass to it with a case than even the bulkiest phones. I've also yet to run into a smartphone (barring Apple stuff obviously) that doesn't use microUSB.
  • But it would net Apple more money from licensing.

    If Apple went and change the connector they would make more money from companies producing accessories, as they would have to pay Apple a second licensing fee for the new connector, as well as the initial fee for the original connect, as that's too big a market to pass up.
    William Farrel
    • Think A Moment

      You ship 1M of Connector A and pay Apple licensing. The connector changes. You ship 2M of Connector B and pay Apple licensing. The connector doesn't change. You ship 2M more of Connector A and pay Apple licensing.

      You might rebut by asking "What if the licensing fees for Connector B exceed those of Connector A?"

      Well, first, you are still making a profit on your little accessory business and maybe you have to rely on higher volumes to come out ahead, but you probably expected product growth any way, if for no other reason than the iPhone has sales growth. If it stops growing, make your doodad for other phones.

      And, second, it's a hypothetical licensing fee increase for a hypothetical connector design change. Could we please have an umpire call the Infield Twisted Knickers Rule?
      • It is not a hypothetical licensing fee, as Apple did patent the connector

        and I understand what you are saying in reference to offering a percentage of each sale to Apple.

        But what if that licensing fee is flat rate based? Apple would make money from the new license fee that they did not have before, would they not?

        It would come down to how the design is licensed, something we do not know
        John Zern
  • Ever hear of something called an adapter?

    Apple sells all sorts of adapters. For example, DVI to mini-dvi adapter. A 30 pin SD card adapter. And so on.

    What make's Adrian believe Apple won't sell an adapter that will connect legacy 30 pin connector accessories to the new iPhone 5 with the rumored new serial port design?
    • Agreed, an adapter would make sense.

      So [i]if[/i] Apple were to change the dock connector and [i]if[/i] Apple were also to fail to provide an adapter [i]then[/i] I would not be impressed.

      Although I don't own an iPhone either... ;-).
  • Buying the iPhone 5?

    Slowly put your wallet back into your pocket. Turn around. Walk away briskly but without panic.

    You are buying something that doesn't exist: it is a scam.

    I guess I should start thinking of Brooklyn Bridges as so 1912.
  • Buying the latest model from Brand X? Be prepared to buy new accessories

    There I fixed the title. So much b!tch!ng for something that is common ACROSS ALL BRANDS.
    • Exactly!

      Much to do about nothing...
    • Are you wacked or something?

      Micro USB is not only a standard, it's the law in the EU.

      This is not common anymore, only with Apple.
      • Lack of IQ leaves to dumb comments

        Because a connector is the ONLY accessory of a smartphone of all non-Apple brands and all models have the connectors in the same place and have the same shape that perfectly fit all accessories without any problem.
      • Micro USB

        Is NOT the law here in the US... although if the EU had their way it would be. I wonder if the EU gets any kickbacks from the inventor of the micro USB... there was nothing wrong with Mini USB. And there ARE adapters to go from Mini USB to micro USB from Apple 30 pin to Micro USB... so again not a big deal.
  • A chipped port would be bad

    I love that I can spend $2 to get extra cables and chargers direct from China. It means that I've got loads of them and one is always handy. That is especially important after the the battery begins its terminal decline after 10 months or so.

    Apple have generally stopped just short of making their overall systems so closed that they start losing people. They offer the convenience of things working together, but still allow adventurous/power users to do things their own way. However, this sounds like they might be crossing that line.
    • Chipped ports don't preclude cheap cables

      But chipped cables do. I think that the people who have come up with this (as yet) fantasy scenario are looking at the Thunderbolt cable and projecting it to the (as yet) unannounced new iOS connector. While a chipped port should be able to distinguish peripherals that do not give the proper handshake signal, it would not be able to tell whether or not the copper in a knockoff cable was licensed properly. A chipped cable, however, could. But there's a problem there- a chipped cable would cost perhaps $20 to produce, rather than the 50cents that an Apple 30-pin connector cable now costs Apple to produce. And since Apple includes a cable with each of their phones, that would directly impact Apple's profit margins. I think if Apple were going to go toward chipped cables, they would prime the pump by stopping the inclusion of USB synch cables with their iOS devices. Once people stopped complaining about it, they would stop expecting cables to come with their iDevices. That way Apple would have that precedent when they didn't include a new-connector chipped cable
  • Connectors are yester-years technology. It had better have a smooth flat

    inductive charging contact in addition to the micro usb standard and transfer all data wirelessly. There is no reason for data "connectors" in this day and age other than to fleece consumers.
    Johnny Vegas
    • I agree... but why have any ports at all?

      I envision iPhone 5 (or maybe it will be 6) to be without openings of any kind. All data transferred wirelessly... charging also inductive. I also envision 5 or 6 to be made from bonded glass... some kind of tough clear glass on the front bonded/fused with liquid metal for the sides and back. It will have smooth edges all around, rather than the current square edges. When dropped, the phone will simply bounce like a spring ( This iPhone won't need a case and it will be nearly indestructible... completely waterproof (at least for those pesky shirt pocket toilet plunges). Yes, there will be *no way* to repair this phone or even replace the battery at the factory. It will simply be replaced if under warranty, but the overall failure rate for this product will be amazingly low, so that will be rare. So... you won't need new connectors or chargers (it will come with one). Man... do I want that phone!
  • Buying the iPhone 5? Prepare to buy new, replacement accessories

    Apple just made your iPhone device obsolete.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Ain't no such thing as obsolescence with Apple gadgets, especially with

      the iPhones and iPads.

      When an iDevice becomes obsolete, or "un-upgradable", the Apple faithful will just upgrade by getting the newest and latest, while either keeping the old device, or unloading it on some unsuspecting soul via Amazon or e-Bay.

      I thought you knew better. ;)
      • @SeanConnery007-If Apple allows you too

        From article:

        " 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."

        If so, then an adaptor may not be available, unless directly from Apple.
      • SeanConnery007: So, Apple will make money from the older devices,

        by forcing people to get adapters?

        Neat! Apple makes money from its sales of the newer devices, while also making money from their previous sales, because, people will need to get adapters from Apple.

        It's like General Motors making money from their new car sales, while also making money from their previously sold cars, which might necessitate that, people upgrade their old cars to be able to talk to their upgraded On-Star system.

        It's amazing how people are so deep into the rear of Apple that, they lose all sense of critical thinking.