Apple may ditch traditional iPhone, iPad, and iPod dock connector for updated ‘micro dock’

“We’ve heard that Apple is getting ready to ditch the dock connector as it’s currently sized and implemented on iPods, iPhones, and iPads,” Rene Ritchie reports for iMore.

“The reason isn’t anything political, like a new desire to conform to an outdated micro-USB standard, but typically Apple: to save space inside the iPhone 5 for what are now more important components,” Ritchie reports. “There are some precedents for this. Apple switched from the very common mini SIM card to the then very uncommon micro SIM card for the original iPad. They took the antenna out of the core package and put it around the edge in the iPhone 4. They had 10 hours of battery life they wanted to hit.”

Ritchie reports, “Apple has also reduced the size of connectors in their Mac line, going to the PCI Express and Mini DisplayPort based Thunderbolt connector almost across the line (Mac Pro the lone holdout). iOS devices probably can’t go Thunderbolt since they doesn’t use PCI Express architecture, but that doesn’t mean the dock port can’t get smaller, doing everything it still needs to do in a PC free world, and saving Apple precious space inside the iPhone 5 package.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Dan K.” and “Lava_Head_UK” for the heads up.]

29 Comments

  1. Most important question is, will there be an adapter so you can hook it up to devices using current “standard” dock connectors. Can’t easily replace the millions of connectors wired into car stereos, for example. Stuff like alarm clocks and portable stereos will be SOL either way–sure you can still hook them up but they won’t fit nicely into the designated area any more.

        1. In general, Apple is ruthless and unapologetic about switching things and not having backward compatibility. As it is, not all iPhones work with all dock adaptors.

          However, as described in the article snippets, this is not an advance in technology. It is for space consideration. Because of that, I suspect that Apple or their army of third party iOS accessory makers can/will make one.

        2. Well, you’d probably be wrong.

          I bought an Alpine head unit in my car that was designed for early iPods and their voltage demands. However I purchased a later model requiring either more or less (I forget which, but I think the latter) and they simply provided a Scosche adapter that does the required task.

          Someone will simply come up with something that maps the 30-pins ‘big’ connector onto something smaller.

    1. Good call.

      Note to Apple: Make the adapters free / cheap and plentiful (they come with every new device for the next year or so) and it will be totally cool. Thunderbolt is coming around, but would probably be adopted a lot faster is the cables, etc were cheaper.

      I wonder if there’s some limitation keeping them from micro-USB.

  2. Hmmm, I don’t know about this, unless there would be dock adapters available so that you could use your new iPhone with a mini-dock connector with your external speakers, car adapter, etc. etc.

  3. Color me skeptical! One of Apple’s biggest strengths in the iOS ecosystem is how all devices use the same connector. Think of the cars, stereos, and everything else out there that use the iPod connector.

    I can’t imagine that slightly smaller connector would provide enough extra space or any other benefits that Apple would ditch compatibility with all those accessories!

    There could be an adapter to make those old accessories compatible, but that’s ugly.

    I bet this is a rumor based upon someone finding some prototype or experiment of Apple’s, but it has no bearing on anything Apple’s really going to do.

    1. Over the holidays there was an Android phone ad I laughed at because to connect it to a speaker system, the dweeb had to plug a pigtail into the ear phone jack, as opposed to dropping it into a dock connector like an iPhone.

      If there is a change, Apple will have an elegant solution available to bridge the two.

      1. Dont know what you’re doing wrong, then. I’ve got six or seven connector leads that I’ve been using for some years, six or seven, at least, and only one has had the outer split just behind the main connector. It’s been like it for a year or more, and still works. Gotta be your problem, no one else I know has had issues either.

        1. What he is doing wrong is actually using it. If you had 6 or 7 then the amount of time u spend using each one is significantly less than the person who has 1 or 2 and may carry them around with them.

  4. No source quoted. No examples of what the interface will be. No patent reference. Seems to me the author was just writing some for the sake of having something to write about. They probably think that by writing this they will create an artificial demand from the fan boys that drink all the coolaid but don’t get it when it comes to apple design aesthetics and their attitude against fragmentation.

  5. Repeat after me…Stop believing the rumors. They are here for our entertainment only. Now I will count to three and snap my fingers. You will be fully awake and will not remember being hip-no-tized.

  6. Again, I say: think about it they have no problem with putting the connector in an iPod touch (stunningly thin device) no with putting it in a iPod nano (about the size of a book of matches)

    So what is the problem with the current connector again? Why would apple create a new dock connector (and make all docking accessories require an “adaptor” or in many (most?) cases not work at all?)

    1. As you obviously missed the relevant part of the original post, I’ll repeat it for your benefit:
      “iOS devices probably can’t go Thunderbolt since they don’t use PCI Express architecture, but that doesn’t mean the dock port can’t get smaller, doing everything it still needs to do in a PC free world, and saving Apple precious space inside the iPhone 5 package.”

  7. Second word… Magnets.
    Also, use the same accessory for macbooks… MagSafe mach II… Update both to fuse data and power I/O needs… Perhaps “thunderbolt” was chosen as a name because of this future need.
    The two worlds of Mac and iOS devices are converging anyway…

    If Apple is going to keep USB around let’s please update to USB 3 or a newer version soon…

  8. I predict magsafe connector also… Well not a magsafe connector, but something similar… The problem with many iDocks today is having to change adapter to accommodate a smaller iPod og different iPhone… and then having to fiddle the iPod into the connector…
    I would be simply awesome if a magnetic connector held the iDevice in place and made it easy to just remove it 🙂

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