updated 07:07 am EDT, Mon October 8, 2012
Overdue $29 Lightning to 30-pin adapter now shipping
Apple is finally shipping its Lightning to 30-pin adapters with Australian customers receiving shipping notifcations for the accessory; it will arrive as much as four weeks after the initial launch of the iPhone 5. The switch from the 30-pin adapter to the new 8-pin Lightning port has rendered the new iPhone 5, without the adapter, incompatible with existing 30-pin charging docks, as well as clock and radio systems. The delay has not been explained by Apple, which has also been struggling to supply users with Lightning to USB cables to supplement the single cable shipped with the iPhone 5 itself.
Apple says that the new Lightning connector is faster than the older 30-pin technology as it uses all-digital signalling. It also said that it was forced to drop the 30-pin design after about a decade in use because it would not have been able to design the iPhone 5 as thin as it is without the redesign - this was confirmed by an iFixit teardown that revealed that there is no room in the iPhone 5 to accommodate the older connector.
The Lightning connector dynamically assigns pins, using only the signals required by a connected device. However, to help maintain its 'Made for iPhone, iPad and iPod' monopoly, Apple has also built in an authenticator technology so that unauthorised accessories will be rejected on connection. Would-be accessory makers will now be much more likely be forced to pay Apple royalties if they want to create Lightning connector accessories.
Users hoping to use their legacy 30-pin docks and peripherals will need to pay Apple an additional $29 in order to use their legacy devices with their iPhone 5's and future iOS devices using the new connector technology. Apple is also selling a cabled version for $39. [via Macrumors]