Apple will reportedly be the exclusive source of adapters to connect the upcoming sixth-generation iPhone to existing dock accessories. According to sources speaking to iLounge, Apple isn't sharing the specs of an oft-rumored smaller connector set to debut next week, and may use "licensing agreements and threats of lawsuits" to prevent third-party adapters from hitting the market through at least 2012.
The first hints of a redesigned dock connector surfaced earlier this year, bolstered by a job listing at Apple for a "connector design engineer." Several manufacturers claimed the rumors were indeed true in June, and we argued that now—at the height of Apple's popularity—might be the best time to make a switch away from the decade-old 30-pin dock connector that first debuted on the third-generation iPod in 2003.
Earlier rumors suggested that the new connector would be smaller and feature only 19 pins. Later information claimed that Apple would produce an adapter to use newer iOS devices or iPods with older accessories built for the 30-pin system. More recent rumors have suggested that the new connector might in fact only have as few as 9 pins.