Apple may be planning to replace the dock connector that’s been synonymous with iPhones, iPods and iPads for almost a decade with something new.
That’s the latest rumor from a smartphone enthusiast site, which says Apple is on the verge of ditching the familiar 30-pin jack for a smaller “micro dock.”
The site, iMore, claims Apple is looking to ditch the connector in its upcoming iPhone 5. The reason: to make room for more stuff on the inside.
Although the report is highly speculative — the site doesn’t say anything about its source — it is also based on an undeniable truth. Apple is considering a lot of extra tech in future mobile devices; they will require more space within the casing, and Apple needs to make room however it can.
The current dock connector isn’t unusually large, but it’s definitely bigger than the micro USB jack common on competing phones. While having a proprietary connector has been a key part of Apple’s product strategy — allowing it a large measure of control over any accessories made for iOS devices — a smaller proprietary connector would let it keep that control while getting back some space within those devices.
In other words, Apple users would simply have to pony up for a new dongle — and not for the first time. (Mini DisplayPort, anyone?)
As the report notes, technologies like 4G LTE, near-field communication (NFC) and better camera components are competing for limited space within phones and tablets — space that’s getting even more limited due to shrinking form factors. All these technologies eat up battery life, so you’re going to need more room for bigger and better batteries, too.
Most phones have adopted the micro USB standard over the past year or so. Apple’s dock connector — which first arrived in 2003 with the third-generation iPod — is looking downright archaic.
Could that mean the upcoming iPad 3 will be the first iProduct to sport the pretty new connector? It’s possible, but the iPad — as the largest iOS devices — has the least to gain from a smaller connector. More likely, Apple could be planning the so-called micro dock for the iPhone 5 later this year.
Since the most recent iPhone, the iPhone 4S, kept the same hardware as the previous iPhone 4, Apple is probably saving a more radical hardware revamp for this year’s new iPhone — a perfect chance to swap out the dock connector. That goes double if the iPhone 5 has some of those space-demanding techs like LTE or NFC.
Do you think Apple will ditch the dock connector? And is that a good thing or bad thing? Have your say in the comments.