I have to say I’m unenchanted by the new but plausible rumor that Apple is planning to replace the venerable 30-pin connector port in the new iPhone with another proprietary connector format, possibly even with DRM enforcement chips in its plugs.
I had been hoping that previous rumors that Apple might add or substitute a standard Micro USB port in its iOS devices. I’m a fan and advocate of open connectivity and data storage standards. For example, I archive all my text data in plain text files that can be opened by any text editor or word processor, and which are the default save format of many iOS apps. Pardon the slight digression.
Anyway, as Michael reported here on the weekend, , a rumor that quickly went viral is almost as quickly gelling into consensus in the consumer tech industry that the next iPhone will get a new and even more locked-down 19-pin dock connector displacing the one that’s been a fixture on Apple’s idevices since the third generation iPod when it elbowed the original and early iPod’s FireWire connector out of primacy and soon to be consigned to idevice oblivion.
TechCrunch’s John Biggs reports that three independent manufacturers have confirmed that the 19-pin dock port is in the works, a development that he says will send shocks through the iPhone accessory ecosystem.
Of course, the Apple 30-pin connector is a proprietary, non-standard format, but at least has become something of a defacto standard by virtue of its use over many years now, and the massive popularity of Apple’s iproducts. As Biggs noted, a vast ecosystem has been built around creating and marketing accessories for iPhones, iPods and iPads based on 30-pin connectivity. As a result many of us users have a sizeable investment in peripherals (some of them, such as audio docks and such, representing hundreds of dollars in outlay).
Consequently, the news that Apple may be fixing to pull the proverbial rug out from under the 30-pin connector convention is not being gladly received in many quarters, reaction to which The Daily Mail’s James Tozer for example, refers to as “fury.” at what is being characterized as a “Rip-off’ Plan To Make ALL iPhone Accessories Obsolete,” while news.com.au suggests that all those expensive iPhone accessories you own — speakers, docks, chargers etc., are about to become obsolete.
ZNet blogger and longtime Apple enthusiast Jason D. O’Grady says he’d assumed the smaller charging port apparent at the bottom of recent iPhone 5 purported leaked images was Micro USB, but now is hearing that it may be something even worse than just a new, non-compatible connector format, with the new Apple cables to incorporate include chips for the purpose of verifying licensing of all accessories to be used with the devices.
As O’Grady remarks, “Dear Lord!”
If these rumors are accurate, says o’Grady, it means that instead of embracing a worldwide standard for syncing and charging smartphones (Micro USB) Apple will adopt an even more expensive and even more proprietary port and cable to protect its lucrative Made For iPhone (MFi) licensing program.
Ergo, an even tighter lockdown.
As I noted, I share the dismay if the rumored scenario plays out. Of course, much depends on whether adapters will be available to connect at least some existing accessories to newer iPhones iPods, and iPads, but that is a kludgy workaround at best, and unlikely to work at all with many legacy 30-pin format docks, charging stands, and such. Hopefully, it won’t be as bad as it sounds.