Titled, Power Adaptors for Powering And/Or Charging Peripheral Devices, the new patent No. 8222773 describes a new type of power port that also transfers data. It has been rumoured for a while that Apple will be introducing a new type of power port on the iPhone 5.
According to an image accompanying the patent, it appears superficially more similar to the original Firewire 400 connection, the port is rectangular in shape with a triangular edge to ensure that the connection is made the right way. Although it should be noted that Apple patent images rarely match the actual style of the end design.
Apple’s patent abstract confirms the cable will offer both power and data transfer.
“A power adapter for a peripheral device such as portable electronics device is disclosed. The power adapter includes a housing that contains electrical components associated with the power adapter. The power adapter also includes a data port provided at a surface of the housing. The data port is configured to provide external power to the peripheral device,” the abstract said.
The new connector stems from Apple’s desire to reduce the size of its connecting devices, the company’s patent Description said.
“It would be desirable to remove the total number of connections made to a peripheral device so as to reduce the number of connectors and cables needed to operate the peripheral device. By reducing the number of connectors and cables, the peripheral size and the cost of the product may be decreased as well as the ease of use of the peripheral device may be improved”.
This could indicate that Apple is looking to reduce the overall size of the iPhone (as well as other iOS devices). It could also indicate continued attempts by Apple to reduce the size of device components to increase the space available to the battery. It is possible that it could enable the larger batteries to charge faster (a problem that will grow as batteries become larger and power requirements more demanding).
Apple has been using the 30-pin Dock Connector for over all iOS devices for a number of years, leading manufactures to build 30-pin connecting accessories and audio systems. Apple will likely release an adapter for the new devices but at an unknown cost.