iPhone 5 dock connector is set to shrink: report

iPhone 5 dock connector is set to shrink: report

Summary: There are both advantages and disadvantages to Apple dumping the existing 30-pin connector in favor of a smaller 19-pin dock connector.

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TOPICS: iPhone, Apple, Hardware
18

There has been a lot of speculation that Apple is getting ready to abandon the 30-pin connector that Apple has used on iPods, the iPhone and the iPad for nearly a decade. Reuters is throwing its weight behind claims that the days of the existing dock connector are limited.

According to "two sources familiar with the matter," the current 30-pin connector will be replaced with a smaller 19-pin connector port in order "to make room for the earphone moving to the bottom" of the smartphone.

There's no doubt that the current dock is a pretty big piece of kit, taking up valuable space inside its iOS-powered devices; space that could be better put to use by other hardware. The following image gives you an idea of how much space the dock takes up inside the current iPhone 4S:

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

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.

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 thought 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.

While I'm willing to accept that Apple might be gearing up to revamp the dock connector, I find it hard to believe that the primary reason for this is to make room for the headphone jack on the bottom of the device. It seems like a lot of disruption for the sake of moving the jack.

Above all else, it's going to be a real hassle -- not to mention expensive -- for anyone who has invested in accessories for their iPhone.

The bottom line is 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.

There's been speculation that Apple could sell an adapter allowing the 19-pin connector to be hooked up to accessories designed for the 30-pin. This would be a good idea as it would prevent all the accessories out there from going obsolete overnight -- and potentially being binned en masse, but if Apple does indeed chip the connector to prevent unlicensed hardware being attached to the new iPhone, this might not be possible.

Image source: iFixit, ETradeSupply/YouTube.

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Hardware

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18 comments
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  • What an idiot statement to make.

    Who is going to replace their frigging car just because Apple changes their dock connector.

    More likely they are going to change their phone.

    I've never heard such an idiotic statement from anyone, ever. Seriously.

    Are you that far up Apple's backside that you seriously believe that someone is going to replace a car valued in the tens of thousands for a bloody phone valued in the hundreds.

    The RDF has melted your brain my friend, you're talking utter tripe.
    Bozzer
    • Duh

      hy·per·bo·le [hahy-pur-buh-lee]
      1. obvious and intentional exaggeration.
      2. an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally
      YurAllScrewed
    • it was a joke...

      and you took it hook line and sinker
      Bradish@...
    • Except...

      Except there are so many Apple fanboys out there with (the late) Steve Jobs up there rump that they probably WOULD "replace their friggin car". I'm sure you know people who replaced their perfectly fine iPhone 4 with the exact same phone in white a couple months later just because it was the latest and greatest handiwork of crApple.
      rhondaleebaby69
    • Calm down

      count to 20 in steps of 0.2

      The writer was just trying to be funny, chill out man, no need to get mad.
      Erasmo Cepeda
  • MagSafe 2

    "Above all else, it's going to be a real hassle -- not to mention expensive -- for anyone who has invested in accessories for their iPhone."

    Like when Apple upgraded the power connectors to MagSafe 2. Everyone would have to replace all their power supplies.

    Oh wait, they sold an adapter.
    walkerreuben
    • This kind of screws the consumer

      Now you have a NEW proprietary connector that you will have to purchase an adapter to use with your old peripherals, and will only allow "signed" peripherals to run. Apple takes even more control over what you can use with your phone. MicroUSB or some other standard would be best for the consumer, but then they can't overcharge you for accessories.
      dsa791
  • iPhone 5 dock connector is set to shrink: report

    Apple just made your iOS device obsolete.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • If it does change I am willing to bet there will be an adapter

      Either from Apple or some third party source. I know when Apple dropped charging over the older firewire pins that were in the older iPods my car iPod connecter would not charge my phone anymore. At first I was upset but then some third party company made an adapter. Problem solved.
      bobiroc
      • Did you miss...

        Did you miss the part that mentioned that Apple is doing its darnedest (?) to prevent third-party vendors from being able to dock to the new connector?
        rhondaleebaby69
    • Do you mean...

      that my iPad can non longer be charged with the charger it came with?

      Or do you mean you just like to troll?
      msalzberg
      • No...

        No, but your iPad will not be able to dock with any new accessories if crApple has its way.
        rhondaleebaby69
    • Have you been told...

      Its probably been at least a day since someone has told you that you're an idiot. Today it's my turn.

      You're an idiot.
      gribittmep
  • Why not use USB?

    I never understand why users tolerate Apple's obsession of going with their own customised connectors instead of industry standard such as USB. It is purely done to mint more money from users....
    p.vinnie@...
  • Is it just me?

    Honestly, I can't see the difference between the iPhone 4S and the next generation iPhone. Is it just me?
    billwillclark
    • It is not just you

      Nobody can, as the new generation iPhone is not yet released.
      danbi
    • Is it just you?

      Yes, it is just you.
      gribittmep
  • Why so many pins?

    The iPhone to PC cable has 4 pins at one end and 19 or 30 pins at the other. Can someone tell me what all the extra pins are for?
    mark01ZD