Apple’s Lightning to Dock Connector adapters won’t work with old speaker systems, clock radios, etc. [Update: Apple reportedly says analog audio out supported]

[UPDATE: 11:07pm EDT: According to The Verge‘s Sean Hollister, “Apple says the 30-pin adapter does support analog audio out.” If so, good news! Whew! Hollister also reports that Lightning to HDMI and Lightning to VGA adapters are on the way. Full article here.]

Apple’s “expensive adapters [US$29 or $39 with a cord] don’t support video or a feature called ‘iPod Out.’ That means if you buy a $29 adapter so you can plug your iPhone 5 into your speaker dock, there’s a chance you won’t actually be able to play music through the speakers,” David Goldman reports for CNN. “Which is, you know, the point of buying the adapter in the first place.”

MacDailyNews Note: “iPod Out” is a vehicle integration feature, not analog audio, that seems to have gone the way of the Dodo, especially in light Apple’s “Eyes Free” Siri integration in iOS 6.

“The old 30-pin connector that Apple had been using on all iPods, iPads and iPhones since 2003 was able to send an analog signal out, which many cars, docks and other gadgets picked up to control the iPod and play music through their speakers,” Goldman reports. “The new eight-prong Lightning adapter is all digital, but Apple did not respond to requests for comment about why the adapter wasn’t designed to convert the digital signal to analog. Some older speaker docks that aren’t compatible with the adapter will still be able to play music from an iPhone 5 by connecting a cord from an auxiliary jack to the iPhone’s headphone jack. But that kind of misses the point of the dock in the first place.”

Goldman reports, “The adapter can be used to charge iPhone 5 phones through old docks or connect them to a PC via old cables, for instance, though Apple will be supplying a Lightning-to-USB adapter and a wall plug with its devices that will be able to accomplish that task. The new Lightning connector is 80% smaller than Apple’s old one, a feat that helped Apple make the iPhone 5 the thinnest iPhone yet.”

Read more in the full article here.

[UPDATE: 11:07pm EDT: According to The Verge‘s Sean Hollister, “Apple says the 30-pin adapter does support analog audio out.” If so, good news! Whew! Hollister also reports that Lightning to HDMI and Lightning to VGA adapters are on the way. Full article here.]

MacDailyNews Take: Well, let the crapshoot begin! Boy, that Bose Portable Sounddock wasn’t exactly cheap.

Neither was that BMW.

Assuming/hoping/praying they both want digital audio signals. Fingers crossed and soon-to-be searching through specs…

Wonder how many cars, docks and other gadgets relied on analog out? We’ll soon find out, won’t we? Hopefully the number is small.


  1. Gee…when people brought this issue up a few weeks ago, they were roundly criticized for not wanting to “improve” the iPhone, not wanting to get with the program…generally being old farts who wanted to stop progress.

    My week-old Kia Optima uses iPod integration to display playlists, album art, and so on right there on the big screen in the dash..Now I have no idea if it will work with the new 5.

    1. According to Apple iPod out is not supported.

      What is iPod out, well I wasn’t sure either. BMW press release helped me and it sounds like the features you mentioned are exactly that:

      “So what is iPod Out? From BMW Group’s press photos and description, the API allows car manufacturers to integrate the iPod Classic OS look and controls into a vehicle’s on-board entertainment system. Owners of future BMW and Mini models will be able to control their iPod or iPhone fully from the car’s interface controls. In addition, users will have access to their device’s Genius feature and be able to make custom playlists.”

      AKA, it won’t work in your Kia.

        1. Biased? I am saying it won’t work across the board. Any integration platform using IPod Out will not work.

          Don’t assume people are talking down Kia when citing a luxury car manufacturer. They are in the same boar here.

      1. I have a 2012 Kia which with uvo. Every iPhone starting from the 4 up to the 5s, including my old iPod works fine with full functionality. Just thought I’d drop a bit of knowledge on ya! My new k900 has even more comparability! Looked I to bmx but even the 7 series took a back seat to the Kia K900 my friend.

  2. More dumb news — the adapters are even available until “October” according to Apple’s site — no idea if that’s early or late, but it means you’re stuck without an adapter for a few weeks if you buy an iPhone 5 right away.

    I was going to get several of these until I saw the price — it’ll be cheaper to just buy a new charger cords (i.e. for my car)!

  3. In fairness to Apple let see what happens when the device is released along with the adapter before we render any judgment. Who knows what it will work with and what it will not work with. There are all kinds of after market gadgets out there that might have issues and then again maybe not.

    No doubt this along with the Sharp and LG displays holding up might cause Apple some grief but might is the operative word.

  4. No doubt. This sucks the big one. Now what am I gonna do with all of my SCSI, parralell, FW400 and other legacy devices? Damn Apple ! How dare they thInk we need to have new technology?

    1. The replacements for each connector you mention were upgrades, either in speed or commonality. FireWire was faster than SCSI. FW800 was faster than FW400. USB was more commonly adopted than Apple Bus was.

      You got something in return for changing the connector.

      What is better about this new connector? It’s not any faster. The phone is now thinner. Did you think your 4 or 4S was too thick?

      If the iPhone 5 had been introduced with the old connector, what would you have thought was wrong with that?

  5. So all these problems caused by the new 9 pin connector exist really just so Apple could thin down the phone. Right? Well, I sure did want a larger phone, but that was length and width of the screen, not the thickness! Have they really gone and caused all this havoc that will come over concerns about making it thinner? It was thin enough to start with. Not too happy about this, but probably I’ll still buy one. Anyone know if Lightening is a USB 3.0 or are we still stuck with 2.0. Now this is a big deal. And pricing will piss off good custmers.

      1. +1.

        Reminds me of the mid-90s when Copland was to be the next-generation Mac OS, everyone was spelling it “Copeland”.

        But those were uncommon names. There’s far less excuse here, mixing up actual everyday words.

  6. Well I own a BMW, I’m a Republican, I will purchase a family set of four new iPhones and who cares what they cost!?! Upgrade new technology new iPhone get with it people! quit whining and celebrate APPLE!!!!

  7. As to cars and portable speakers- Bluetooth still works fine.

    When I bought my Golf last year I opted for Bluetooth only instead of the iPhone adapter which shows up right in the instrument panel.

    1. Yeah, my 2012 Honda simply links to my iPhone when I get in the car. I can make calls and listen to music without taking it out of my pocket. But, it also has a USB cable in the console and mini-plug in the dash.

      It kills me how every time Apple does something like this all of these morons whine and cry about it. But in a short time you never seem to hear about it again. Could you imagine the state of technology if Apple listened to these dummies?

      1. Well, in my week-old Kia Optima, full iPod control requires the cord. The Bluetooth mode works for calls and for playing music, but the music is accessible only as one large playlist in alpha order. With the cord I have full access to all playlists, album lists, album art onscreen and list by artist. Bluetooth won’t do that, at least not in my car.

        And could you tell me please what was improved by going to this new connector? If Apple had introduced the 5 with the old connector would you have felt that something was not good enough about it?

  8. I’ve got a Kia, not that I used the controls for more than just skipping tracks as I can never be bothered to navigate to a particular thing so I just play on shuffle, but it sounds like it won’t work. I may just get a refurbished nano or something and keep it in the car. iPhone will still work through bluetooth for calls.

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