updated 03:30 pm EDT, Fri August 10, 2012
Smaller than standard USB format
French website Nowherelse.fr has uncovered what are said to be some of the first photos of the actual plug for Apple's new dock connector format. In the past, only images of matching ports on next-generation iPhone parts have been leaked. The plug is smaller than the current Apple format for portable devices, and in fact much narrower than a regular USB plug, closer to micro- or mini-USB. The images are believed to have been found on a Chinese-language site.
A closer look shows only eight visible contacts, which conflicts with some reports indicating that Apple is moving to a 19-pin format, but supports others calling for eight or nine pins. The plug may also be able to connect flipped on either side, unlike Apple's current design. A similar improvement was made with the MagSafe connectors used for MacBooks.
Apple is expected to reveal its new dock connector at a September 12th press event. Aside from a new iPhone, other devices may get the format as well, including possibly Apple's entire existing mobile lineup and/or a "mini" iPad model.