Apple is planning to revamp the 30-pin dock connector with the release of the next iPhone, to a 19-pin port, making room for a earphone jack at the bottom of the handset, according to Reuters.
Apple was granted a patent for a new dock connector last week, with the technology giant hoping to reduce the space the connector consumes on its devices.
“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,” Apple’s patent description said.
A smaller dock connector could allow Apple to increase the battery size or reduce the iPhone’s dimensions and with microUSB cables now offering greater performance in a more compact form, it would seem logical.
The new connector will make current accessories obsolete, news that will likely annoy millions of Apple’s current iPhone users, who have purchased peripherals compatible with the 30-pin dock, costing hundreds even thousands of dollars.
Two sources told Routers that without an adapter the new phone would not work with accessories such as speakers and power chargers that form part of the ecosystem for iPods, iPads and iPhones.
However for the peripherals industry, manufacturers should start preparing for a sales boom, with the change set to open doors for new business as customers who purchase the new iPhone will also need to upgrade to new accessories ranging from cases to docks.
“It represents an opportunity for accessory vendors. The iPhone connector has been a standard for a long time now and I would expect the same to be true for a new connector, should Apple change it as expected”, said research firm Canalys’ analyst Pete Cunningham.
It’s rumoured that Apple however is likely to offer an adapter to allow users to continue using older accessories with the 30-pin dock connector that was first introduced in 2003 with Apple’s third-generation iPod.
“I believe Apple will come up with some sort of adaptor so the new iPhone can be used with previous connectors. Apple needs to find a solution not to disappoint their current clients who want to upgrade to the new iPhone but are tied to an expensive accessory they have bought,” said IDC analyst Franciso Jeronimo.
Some vendors in China have already begun offering cases for Apple’s new iPhone, complete with earphone jack at the bottom, and revised form, in keeping with rumours of a taller iPhone.