Is a low-cost iPhone all about the Dock Connector?

“Apple certainly took it on the chin when the 30-pin dock connector was ditched and replaced with Lightning,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “Yes, Lightning is smaller, and is non-directional, so you don’t have to look at the faint decal to see which end is right. But it was different, making loads of existing accessories obsolete; well, obsolete without an adapter plug.”

MacDailyNews Take: It’s a very minor issue for those who can manage to keep an adaptor handy. For the less organized, when they happen to find themselves in a bind, they tend to blame Apple instead of looking the mirror.

“For Apple, this change made sense, for it may unlock new features that we haven’t heard about yet. And it’s nice to be able to make a connection without fretting over polarity or perhaps risking damage to a plug or jack if you push too hard,” Steinberg writes. “Apple shouldn’t be forever bound with existing connection schemes, and it makes sense that, if they move to something new, they work hard to make all current iPhones, iPads and iPods compatible. That factor may have hastened the arrival of a fourth generation iPad last fall, though it was admittedly much faster too.”

Steinberg writes, “What this means is that all the new iPhones you’ll be able to buy after that September launch will support Lightning, if the predictions are correct.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. I put a clear small silicone rubber “dome” on the top face edge of the plug, so I know which way it goes into iPhone, without having to even look! I just feel the dome under my thumb — very helpful when searching in the dark or while in the car. A magic marker mark would work too — but you’d have to look at it. Feeling is better and quicker.

      1. That’s why I like the new connector – easy to attach in the dark so you DON’T have to turn on the light and wake up the wife. Ultimately it may have been more of a real innovation being able to charge on a pad with NO connector.

      2. Yes but in the dark it would need a touchy freely silicone dome to find he switch. Actually why didnt Apple think of touch sensitive orientation in the first place especially after he puck mouse debacle a mute point now I guess thankfully.

  2. The standardized iPod/iPhone/iPad connector was a great thing. To know that pretty much the whole world had a plug for you is a liberating feeling. But it is time for the new. Hopefully soon the Lightning connector will be just as ubiquitous.

  3. Not an ideal situation but I understand why Apple had to change the connector and I do think the entire line up will make the move in September. We need more lightening accessories.

  4. … right, MDN would never ever admit that Apple bungled anything. The lightning connector is STILL not ubiquitous. Docks were always flimsy for cradling iGadgets, but a Lightning adapter makes many of them practically useless — and as we all know, Lightning accessories are both rare and overpriced. Apple shat out another badly-planned connector change and MDN, as usual, plays airheaded cheerleader.

    … and no, I don’t prefer the Dock connector, nor do I hate change. If you can’t identify how badly Apple implemented the change, YOU should look in the mirror.

    1. Dolt.

      Right, keep a big connector that uses up real estate that would be better used by new hardware, better battery life, etc. etc. and keep it for the next 20 years. That would make SOOO much sense.
      It would be painful to “cut the cord” and change at any point; it was as good a time as any.

      1. Name one advantage that the Lightning connector offers over mini USB.

        Now compare price difference.

        Now watch your new iPhone 5 fall out of the cradle of your existing iPhone accessories.

        Next the MDN dittoheads will claim that moving the Lightning connector to a different spot on each iDevice is innovative. Oh, that’s right. the iPod nano doesn’t count. This site only discusses iPhones.

    2. But how else should they have handled the change? Dock connector is ubiquitous, and accessories plentiful, on the account of it being around FOR 10 YEAS! When it first appeared, everyone else was using USB mini cable, so no accessories worked with the dock, and there was no dock to mini-USB adapter to make it work. In fact, there wasn’t even the USB connection at all; at the time, USB1 was too slow (USB 2 came later), so the only connection for the dock was a FireWire cable delivered with the iPod. It took years for the dock connector to become popular with accessory makers.

      I’m sure it will only take a few months for the new Lightning to pick up. There are already many makers with dockable lightning connections, from sound systems, to alarm clocks, charging bases and others.

      This is really a non-issue; it is just a simple connector, not an operating system change (like move from System 9 to OS X), or hardware architecture change (from PPC to Intel). Let us not get tied up over nothing.

    3. Dear Mike (I hate everything Apple does),

      No the lightning connector is still not ubiquitous. Neither was the “new” 30 pin connector. Boy you must have hated to pay for that connector when it came out. I hear you still want your MacBook Air to have a 3.5 inch floppy drive too, cause well, we all still have some of those left. I could even almost put a text file(with a small picture) on one today.

      And of course its over priced cause its not samdung (the guys you love cause they are shiny plastic and come in colors and well, they pay you, but lets keep that to ourself).

      Did you know that there is active components inside the cable??

      Revealed: How Apple’s New Lighting Cable Talks to your iPhone
      by Gary Ng on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 – 11:00pm PDT
      Chipworks has performed a systems analysis of Apple’s Lightning to USB cable and how it communicates when it is inserted into the iPhone 5. They first document the four die found within the Lightning cable:

      –NXP SP3D2
      –STMicroelectronics USB2A
      –Texas Instruments BQ2025
      –Unknown manufacturer with markings identified as 4S (functionality is known)

      Back in October, Chipworks confirmed the TI BQ2025 component within the Lightning cable and suspected it was used for security for the proprietary cable.

      So go take a xanax and relax. Just a thought.

    1. Because USB (and micro-USB) had too many limitations for Apple to consider it. They designed Lightning to be much more flexible than the micro USB, so that accessory makers can exploit that flexibility and build devices beyond what micro-USB can accomplish.

      Let us also not forget the idiotic micro-USB shape, which is asymmetrical just enough to make plugging it the wrong way an easy mistake to make. And of course, once a person tries to shove it the wrong way (thinking they’re pushing it the right way, since they didn’t notice the asymmetry), it is too easy to break it with some moderate force. And also not to mention the inadequate power limitations of the micro-USB standard, which make it simply inadequate to efficiently charge an iPad.

      Lightning connector is significantly better than micro-USB in many, many ways. Anyone who knows how Apple works and thinks shouldn’t really be surprised.

  5. What Tech writers never understand is that Apple repair departments know what writers never bother to find out because everyone else isn’t also writing about it.
    Overseas knock off producers flooded the market with cheap 30-pin connectors and Apple got blamed when the connectors would not work.

    Writers also forget that before Apple came along with their standard iPod connection, cellphone companies use to change connectors every time they changed the color of their phone. That way they could sell more “mysterious” chargers that were not compatible with last months connection.
    And they did not sell adaptors.

  6. Apple knew that manufacturers would not be happy without assurance that they were going to have 5+ years with the new connector – and it therefore needed to offer the greatest stretch potential than mini usb.

  7. 30 pin vs lightning. 30 pin is cheaper, allows for analog output, has far more accessories available and is less prone to damage. 30 pin…mmm makes apple more money?

    1. I meant lightning makes apple more money. Snarky response fail. If it were faster, compatible with the camera kit, allowed for analog video output, wasn’t so expensive etc it would be ok.

      1. Dave, you are so right on. And it does not connect to a 3.5″ floppy drive or even the 5 1/2 ” drive. How terrible of Apple to forget those icons of computing. /s

        ps Revealed: How Apple’s New Lighting Cable Talks to your iPhone—–by Gary Ng

        Chipworks has performed a systems analysis of Apple’s Lightning to USB cable and how it communicates when it is inserted into the iPhone 5. They first document the four die found within the Lightning cable:

        NXP SP3D2
        STMicroelectronics USB2A
        Texas Instruments BQ2025
        Unknown manufacturer with markings identified as 4S (functionality is known)

        Back in October, Chipworks confirmed the TI BQ2025 component within the Lightning cable and suspected it was used for security for the proprietary cable. Their current analysis notes the following:

        1. Your response makes no sense ans does not address anything I said. Is the lightning connector cheaper, no. Can it pass analog video, no. Can the camera kit be used with it, no. Is it any faster than the old connector, no. Other than size it’s the connector nobody wanted. I’m not sure why you are so in love with a connector that is so much worse then the premises or unless you simple use it for charging and don’t know about all the features you lost when apple made the change.

  8. I think that Apple maybe ahead of the curve with the move to the smaller connector. If the connector only is used for power (I appreciate the lightning connector can do more) then everything else must be done wireless. I think with wireless syncing and backup, AirPlay, Bluetooth, and soon air sharing. This is the way technology is going and Apple is trying to push it forward.

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