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New iPhone may have 19-pin port, block unlicensed add-ons

updated 10:29 am EDT, Thu June 21, 2012

Could give Apple stranglehold on accessory market

The next-generation will use a 19-pin dock connector, instead of the current 30-pin design, TechCrunch says it has learned. The claim is based on word from three independent manufacturers who say that the pin configuration will be different. If accurate the information supports a number of leaked photos, all purportedly showing iPhone parts with much smaller docking ports.

Noted tech industry figure Robert Scoble further says that an "engineer who is working in the phone world" has told him that Apple is putting chips into both ends of the new iPhone's power supply that will block any unlicensed accessories. Combined with the new dock format, it could mean that most accessory and peripheral makers will be forced to make major overhauls to their designs in order to continue supporting iOS hardware, and that Apple will have a lock on who can and can't make money in its ecosystem.

The engineer suggests several reasons for moving to the smaller dock format. Beyond installing chips, Apple also allegedly wants to make thinner devices, reduce the chances of water damage, and even switch to a magnetic connector that is both more durable and easier to plug in. Apple has used magnetic connectors with Macs for some time, but has never brought the technology to handheld products like the iPhone or iPad.

by MacNN Staff



  1. jaskets

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Well there goes making millions of dollars worth of peripherals obsolete. I personally have invested in hundreds of dollars worth of docks, cables, etc so I could use my iPods and iPhone interchangeably.

  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Licensing and fees

    Look at Apple's history under Steve Jobs. Given how unwilling Apple has been to license their Magsafe connector to third parties such as iGo and how few high-quality earphones support iPhone remote controls, this could create problems. Apple will almost certainly license the connector, but will their licensing be restricted to high-end, fashionable products? That's the rub.

    Let's hope this proves to be another area where Tim Cook proves more open and flexible.

  1. jwdsail

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I will remain concerned but not panic...

    I wonder if this blocking "unlicensed" devices will kill the many aftermarket car adaptors on the market, or even a few the were available from the automotive manufacturers even if a 30->19 adaptor is made available...

    I will not be buying a new car just to use an iPhone in it..

  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Panic Ye Not!

    Almost all peripherals available for the iPhone and iPad are licensed. That's why they have the "Made for iPhone/iPad" on the box. Apple currently license its iOS connector for many devices. There have been several instances of fire and device damage when non-licensed devices are used. Having an iPhone go up in flames is not good for Apple no matter who's at fault. Preventing non-licensed devices might prevent this from happening.

    Changing the port connector is a big risk for Apple because the port has become an easy way for manufacturers to tap into the iPhone market. Android doesn't have such a standard connector that works the same way and that has hurt Android. However, the large 30 pin design is already a problem for the iPod Touch, and I can imagine a smaller, thinner connector working better.

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    most car radios

    have bluetooth connection for music. Much better than cable connections! By the way -- very funny assertion by the guy who says he has personally spent hundreds of dollars on cables, docks, etc., so all his i-devices can be interchangeable -- made my day with a LOL, thanks!

  1. facebook_Collin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2012



    Lets play the speculation game.

    So we have heard that the pin configuration is going to be different. Well USB would be different, Thunderbolt would be different... Extra chips makes me think Thunderbolt, and you need a license for that.

    Anyone else? I figure our guess is as good as anyone else's at this point.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I know what Samsung's next

    adapter is going to look like. I will put my nickel on it.

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Potential damage?

    One thing I have liked about the 30 pin port is that it is generally provides a solid connection with little movement (back and forth) of the adapter. If Apple makes the port smaller and thinner, then there is a greater risk of the pins connected to the logic board becoming damaged. I saw this very thing in both the Sony Walkmans and the Zune. Both were nice players, but the connectors always seem rather weak. I hope Apple doesn't follow this path. :(

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It had to happen. For MagSafe.

    There are rumors that the new mini-dock-connector uses MagSafe. I certainly hope the rumors are true.

    @ lamewing - MagSafe would eliminate any strain on the logic board connections.

  1. davidlfoster

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Some things should remain the same...

    ...universal connectors are an example. Apple is s******* this one up.

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