Apple’s next-gen iPhone, iPad, iPods to replace Dock Connector with ‘chipped’ Micro MagSafe?

“After seeing the new, smaller opening on the bottom of some leaked iPhone 5 components, I assumed that Apple was dropping the venerable Dock Connector port on its iOS devices in favor of the Micro USB standard,” Jason D. O’Grady writes for ZDNet. “Well, I might be wrong.”

“Terry Flores noted in the comments that Micro USB isn’t 19-pins (as TechCrunch confirmed the new port on the iPhone 5 is),” O’Grady writes. “MobileFun notes that the new connector on the iPhone 5 is ‘much smaller, similar in size to micro USB.'”

In a comment under the TechCrunch post, Robert Scoble throws water on my Micro USB theory. Scoble quotes an engineer ‘working in the phone world’ as saying that Apple is moving from the Dock Connector to a MagSafe-like magnetic latch (like the one on the MacBook Air and Pro)… The new cable will ‘include chips to verify licensing of accessories to be used with the devices.’ His source goes on to explain that ‘there is a chip in both ends of the new power supply that ensure that it is an official device.'”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Rumors of next-gen iPhone’s micro Dock Connector prompt negative comments – June 21, 2012
Images of purported ‘iPad mini’ leak; show same mini Dock Connector as leaked ‘iPhone 5′ video – June 7, 2012
Apple may ditch traditional iPhone, iPad, and iPod dock connector for updated ‘micro dock’ – February 24, 2012

33 Comments

  1. Tiis had crossed my mind when I noticed they had removed the slender, right-angle MagSafe connector on the Retina MBP AC adapter. Wondered if perhaps they were moving toward AC adapters that worked across all laptop & mobile devices, using chips to regulate appropriate voltage/amperage.

    1. Agreed- Repeat something authoritatively and it becomes the “truth”. Jason O’grady- now there’s a credible source.

      so here’s the facts- The Micro USB isn’t 19-pins, it’s 12,700. They don’t use pins. they use tacks. You need that many tacks because the entire connector is lined with shag carpeting. such bullshit.

  2. If true this would be a really forward thinking way of connecting to the phone. I’ve always loved the MagSafe connectors. Brilliant design, early flaws notwithstanding.

  3. I have 3 hardware devices that connect to my iPhone 4: a stereo microphone, external speakers and an infrared dongle for controlling my stereo/tv. They had better make an adapter to the old dock or I will be VERY upset.

    1. That stuff is replaceable. Imagine the people with iPod/iPhone docks built into their cars. Just what people want to do, toss out a $40,000 vehicle for a $300 phone.

      1. That’s exactly part of my dilemma. However, I could see an adapter that would fit over the existing dock connector and have a MagSafe connector, but yet not take up much more space.

        The real question is whether the magnet would be strong enough to hold an iPhone securely enough for various devices, including moving automobiles.

  4. I like the idea of a magsafe-like connector.

    I don’t like the idea of a chipped system to verify accessories are authorized/licensed.

    Ensure quality parts? Prevent shoddy accessories damaging the unit?

    Those were the same excuses HP used when chipping their print cartridges, to try preventing cheaper 3rd party units. I believe they also self-terminated so you couldn’t refill them either. HP also invoked the much-hated DMCA against 3rd party cartridge makers when they got around the chip system.

    If they go this route we can expect Apple to also sue unauthorized accessory makers getting around this system. Lawsuits are already damaging Apple’s image, no matter how justified the suits are, because a) people don’t like mega-companies and organizations using the courts to protect their turf (RIAA, MPAA, etc), and b) the average person doesn’t care or think to look past the ridiculousness of “suing over rounded corners”, even though that’s a gross oversimplification. Soundbites are all people pay attention to anymore. So they will be even less forgiving if Apple sues companies to prevent consumers getting cheaper accessories.

      1. Why invite the scrutiny in the first place? The cost of lawsuits (and increased ill-will) is surely higher than the cost to replace units damaged by shoddy 3rd party accessories (and many of those would be paid by customer anyway, if Apple can prove the non-approved accessory was responsible).

        1. Well, I was being sarcastic with regards to the US DoJ.
          But in response to your concerns, the history of HP ink jet chipping is HPs history, and doesn’t apply to Apple. The fact that someone has claimed safety concerns when in reality they were attempting to forestall competition does not mean that every claim of safety is bogus. Apple has done very well for its customers by protecting them from bad additions to their products; and Apple has a thriving “Made for iPhone” program that supports and guides third-party additions — HP never had a program like that for ink cartridges. Look at the difference in business models: HP makes ink cartridges for a profit and offers printers that use them (do not be fooled that this is backwards) whereas Apple makes products consumers want to use and not worry about. Apple encourages third-party contributions into its ecosystem, HP does not. So the motivation behind Apple’s safety concerns are inherently less self-serving than are HPs.

          1. Agreed that the business models are different, and Apple’s reasoning would be less self-serving, yes.

            But, consumers have proven they’ll often (usually?) look at price before value. Sometimes it’s not their fault they have this view–expensive isn’t always worth it and even highway robbery, e.g. Monster cables. So the media and competitors would spin it in a way that paints Apple in the worst possible light ($10 says such an article has already been written, or will be soon, based solely on these rumours). Not that Apple usually cares about negative spin, but the effect can be cumulative.

    1. The chip may not be for licensing purposes, but may be more to verify that the connector is providing the correct power or to facilitate syncing, etc.

      For example, my wife’s New iPad will not charge from her old MacBook Pro USB port because it does not flow enough juice.

    2. “I don’t like the idea of a chipped system to verify accessories are authorized/licensed.”
      The cables already work that way. So, you don’t like the way things are. Got it.

  5. Magsafe to current dock connector adapter included…cost eaten by Apple. They have to do this to ensure a smooth transition to the next generation connector or people and the billion dollar 3rd party ecosystem will balk majorly at this. You can’t cram a better idea down peoples throats, but you can include a little adaptor using a penny’s worth of your cash stash.

  6. MagSafe is smaller and more reliable, since there are no fiddly mechanical latches. It can allow faster recharging since it supports higher current. High-speed serial interfaces have plenty of bandwidth using just a signal pair so a low pin-count MagSafe connector could replace the 30-pin connector.

    1. I believe in Europe where mini USB standard is the law, apple was required to supply an adapter which I’m sure they will sell for those needing to connect iPhone 5 to older dock connectors 🙂

  7. Apple divorcing itself from all the legacy accessories that use the present 30-pin dock connector would be the height of stupidity.

    Apple’s consumer attraction derives in no small part from the support community that has made significant investment in accessories that work with the current connector — not only for the electrical connection, but also for the mechanical integrity that the large connector offers.

    Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

      1. @ Jim: BS. there’s a difference between innovation to improve performance and/or value versus senseless change that disrupts everyone around you. going from a 30-pin connector that everyone knows and understands to a 19-pin connector with presumably lesser capability makes little sense.

        Of course, Apple has shot itself in the foot with short-lived connector changes before. remember the pointless ADC, a corruption of the useful standard and still-popular DVI interface?
        http://lowendmac.com/video/ports/apple-display-connector.html

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