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.