Apple is reportedly preparing to move on from its 30-pin dock connector for iPhones, iPads and iPods in favor of something much smaller.
The 30-pin dock connector debuted in 2003 with Apple’s third-generation iPod and became the standard connector for all the company’s portable devices. But with a smaller connector, Apple can leave more room for a 4G radio, bigger battery and other components. According to iMore, which cites no sources in its story, Apple is finally getting ready to ditch the old dock connector, possibly in time for the iPad 3 or iPhone 5.
Although the source of this report is a bit shaky, the rumor itself isn’t new. Last October, the Japanese blog Macotakara reported that Apple would switch to a smaller dock connector with the iPad 3. Macotakara has been pretty accurate with Apple rumors lately, having reported the fall launch date of the iPhone 4S early last year. (Even the site’s recent report of a “strange” February event, which I had doubted, was probably true. Apple held one-on-one briefings with a handful of reporters this month–Harry included—to announce OS X Mountain Lion.)
iMore thinks Apple is more likely to wait for the iPhone 5 to introduce a new connector, but either way, the switch seems inevitable. The 30-pin connector is now nine years old, and most competing phones and tablets are using smaller connection ports.
Of course, a new connector would mean obsolescence for countless accessories, not to mention the existing 30-pin cables that longtime Apple users already own. But Apple’s never been one to sacrifice newer technology for the sake of supporting legacy hardware. Besides, I’m sure someone would create an adapter to support 30-pin accessories–if not Apple, then a third-party.