Is Apple preparing to revamp the iPad 3/iPhone 5 dock connector?

Is Apple preparing to revamp the iPad 3/iPhone 5 dock connector?

Summary: Rumors say Apple is preparing to replace the current dock connector with a smaller 'micro dock.'

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According to a story over on iMore, Apple is preparing to drop the traditional dock connector currently found on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod and replace it with a smaller 'micro dock.'

The idea is that the current dock is a pretty big piece of kit, taking up valuable space inside devices such as the iPhone and iPad, space that could be better put to use by an LTE chipset or maybe a slightly bigger battery. The following image gives you an idea of how much space the dock takes up inside the current iPhone 4S:

Image credit: iFixit

Here is the complete dock, stripped out of the handset. It consists of the dock and the primary microphone:

Image credit: iFixit

As iMore pointed out, there is precedent for Apple doing this. It switched from the ubiquitous mini SIM card to the then far more uncommon micro SIM. It also took the antenna out from the iPhone and built it into the frame of the handset.

Now you might be thinking that Apple won't do this because it would make a whole raft of accessories obsolete. Well, yes, but you can never guarantee that an accessory built for one device will work on a new device anyway, so this is a moot point. It might make it harder for manufacturers to who make things like docks because they're have to somehow cater for two different connectors, but again that's not an insurmountable problem.

One of the reasons that the dock connector is so big is that it is a separate component, that connector alone takes up a lot of valuable space. Apple could make it take up less space by building it onto the mainboard, but I guess it won't do this because the connector is a weak point and replacing a dead one would them mean replacing the whole mainboard.

The inside of an iPhone is petty tightly packed with electronics, and every cubic millimeter matters. But that said, the best evidence that iMore can offer up for this is that they've 'heard' that Apple is going this. Given that alone, I'm going to put this 'rumor' into the 'I'll believe it when I see it' pile (along with all the other iPhone 5/iPad 3 rumors).

Topics: Hardware, Apple, iPhone, iPad, Mobility, Smartphones

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10 comments
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  • If they were remotely inclined to do this

    Then they'd probably make an "old style" (as in the current dock) adapter that slotted into the new adapter. Who knows though.
    ego.sum.stig
  • About time

    It's about time. My only wish would be that the new dock accept a micro USB connector, at least for charging. Both the Nook Color and the HTC Flyer have proprietary ports that also accept a standard micro USB connector. No, it won't charge your device as fast as an OEM charger with the special tip, but it will work in a pinch.
    dsf3g
  • Is Apple preparing to revamp the iPad 3/iPhone 5 dock connector?

    I hope so just so that all the Apple customers have to buy a new connector.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Does change scare you so much?

      And I suppose you are still using floppy disks in your PC, because otherwise you might need to buy a CD burner (let's not talk about the next steps of DVD burner or Blu-ray burner).

      Are you still using a PS2 mouse? Did you know that there is a "newfangled" thing called USB?
      anonymous
      • Its not about change

        I'm fine with the change as I said this was good in my previous post, I just think its funny that people will have to pay more to Apple.
        Loverock Davidson-
      • No need to pay anything extra

        @Loverock Davidson: "I'm fine with the change as I said this was good in my previous post, I just think its funny that people will have to pay more to Apple."

        How do you figure that?

        People with existing devices that use the current dock connector, continue to do so.

        Nothing more to pay there.

        If Apple comes out with new products with a new connector, and someone buys it, they use the cable (with the new connector) that comes with that product.

        Nothing more to pay there.

        Third-party docks have always been made to fit specific products, and not others (even other products that have similar connectors).

        Nothing new here.

        Overall, no extra expenses will be required.
        anonymous
    • Loverock Davidson - Grow Up

      Dude, why do you need to be such a child in most of your posts? Grow up.
      gribittmep
  • Sexier applications opportunity

    Any space in the design saved by replacing the traditional dock connector used for simple re-charging (will now be covered by MagSafe) could now conceivably be used by different types of connectors for sexier emerging applications such as vehicle telematics, HD-IPTV, or mobile solar recharging.

    I also think it would be cool if someday the customer could custom specify orders with additional/different types of connectors based upon required utility. Perhaps served by a nationally based custom manufacturing initiative that sets the global standard for humane, enviromentally pro-active operation, while providing jobs for American workers. We can dream.
    InterconnectionWorld
  • Not just a moderate upgrade

    One thing is for sure: We will find everything out in a few weeks. Well, actually two things are for sure at this point??? The next gen iPad will be another game changer. Most infor at this point seems to say this isn???t going to be just a moderate upgrade of the iPad 2. Even Wall St. apparently things so. Here is an interesting article about this. http://theipad3.com/apple-stock-price-indicates-ipad-3-is-another-cash-cow/
    brockm92
  • Rumor: Apple invents molecular transportation; requires new dock connector.

    Sources in the Far East report that the forthcoming iPad 3 with 4G Molecular Transport Launch Pad will have a hyper connector. Signals will infuse through the back of the iPad via a pair of sub-organic wave modulators that simultaneously charge the battery and conduct human plasma streams through the Ethernet.

    Okay, so none of that is true. But it makes just as much sense as all the rumors spreading around in the blogosphere to attract click-throughs. All together now, say, "I am not a pawn in the game of Internet ad sales."
    BurkPhoto