If the unbridled joy and fervor of the 30-pin dock connector being reduced to the newfangled 19-pin variety, then get ready for an even tinier, 8-pin dock connector for the iPhone 5. Or so the rumor mill tells us.
For the remainder of this rumor cycle, I’m going to have to write about the dock connector with a little bit of mirth, since it seems like we’ve already spent far too much time discerning about the iPhone 5′s dock connector. Sure, a new dock connector will have implications, but fretting over butt-end of the iPhone 5 seems like an exercise in futility.
Of course, exercises in futility are the iPhone 5 rumor mill’s specialty.
The report originated by Jeremy Horwitz over at iLounge, who said:
“According to two sources, Apple’s new Dock Connector features only 8 pins, seemingly contradicting claims of “16-pin” and “19-pin” connectors. Although the original Dock Connector contained 30 pins, reports of 16- or 19-pin connectors seemed hard to square with the port’s small size and Apple’s actual need for additional pins beyond what USB/Micro-USB offer.”
If you’re looking for photos or schematics that corroborate Horwitz’s sources’ claims, I’m sorry to say that none are forthcoming. It seems that Horwitz has substantiated what he has heard with the photos of the purported iPhone 5 we’ve seen sprouting up across the rumor mill (which, by the way, my consumer electronics accessory executive source has confirmed is the iPhone 5 — they are already tooling cases for it). Looking at the photo of the dock connector, indeed it looks more like the size of a micro USB port, and could very well support the notion of a smaller dock connector.
Horwitz did update his post by adding: “Update: A source chimes in to confirm and explain the second detail: the male connector has 8 pins on each side, while the female connector has only 8 pins on one side. This enables the iPhone/iPod/iPad (with female port) to connect to either side of a male cable or docking plug.”
What I like about the iLounge rumor is that it makes some logical sense. If the current connector has 30 pins, then a 19-pin connector wouldn’t be nearly as small as the recent photos have suggested; the 8-pin design would fit the mold. Also, we’ve been told that one of the reason for Apple retooling the dock connector is so that they can slim down their mobile devices. If this is the case, then a dramatically smaller dock connector would fit the bill.
We’re also hearing rumors that the connector will be a MagSafe-style connector. To me, this is a no-brainer for the iPhone 5 and future iPads — anyone who has a MacBook has had the MagSafe save them from drop page disaster at least once. At the very least, it’s just a quicker, more secure way of making a connection. In the past, the application of MagSafe n the iPhone and iPad may have been limited by the necessity of transferring both power and data.
But with Apple utilizing OTA updates, maybe we’re moving in the direction of no hardware connections at all for charging and data transfer (particularly with 4G LTE coming to the iPhone 5). We’ve already heard that the iPhone 5 could have wireless, inductive charging. Could the iPhone 6 have wireless charging and data transfer?
In the meantime, it looks like we’re getting a smaller dock connector. Ok, rumor mill — we got it. What’s it going to be next week — 4-pin?
(I can’t believe I just tried to crack a “pin” joke.”)
By Michael Nace