UPDATED: Apple’s uniquely identifiable 30-pin dock connector has seen action on numerous Apple iDevices since the 3rd generation iPod, but seems that times are-a-changing as rumours of a new terminal on the base of the upcoming iPhone 5 have appeared.
Throughout the recent leaks and spy shots of component parts and schematics, we're hearing the hardware arrangement of the iPhone may be significantly different to its predecessors. For one, the headphone jack is expected to shift down to the underside of the device, more akin to the iPod Touch family, but in order to do so, available space would have been pretty slim with Apple’s 30-pin connector spanning the base. Add to this the inclusion of speaker grills and the need for a new solution arises.
The iPhone 5 back plate footage which arrived just weeks ago clearly shows a new smaller dock connector on the underside of the iPhone. Although many considered the possibility of Apple making the jump to microUSB, this proved characteristically unconventional for the Cupertino-based company. Instead it would appear that the smaller, thinner slot is set to play host to a new, more compact 19-pin system. TechCrunch has also found that three manufacturers have verified this new 19-pin’s solution is in existence.
The implications of changing such a fundamental part of all previous iPhones becomes apparent with accessories. Accessory makers will now have to spend significant time and money, re-tooling and redesigning products to better accommodate the new iPhone. What’s more, we’re unsure as to whether the physical strength of the now dock will allow the iphone to stand freely in a cradle as well as its predecessors have.
UPDATE (24/7/12): It seems that the mysterious new port shape spotted on various pieces of hardware claiming to encompass part of the upcoming Apple iPhone 5 are to house a new, smaller 19-pin dock connector, according to sources close to Reuters. As we suspected the new headphone jack placement on the underside of the phone means Apple has had to shrink down the space taken up by the current 30-pin port in order to make room.
The introduction of a new port may be a source of contention for loyal iPhone users, who would have to either adapt or oust their current menagerie of Apple peripherals, however accessory makers could see this as a new lease of life for iPhone-centric ad-ons as recent popularity in products like dedicated speaker docks has been on the decline in favour of Bluetooth speaker units, as one source told Reuters.