We have written before about why we believe that Apple will adopt a 19-pin dock connector for the next iPhone, but a curious report this morning suggests that, instead, Apple will get by with only eight. In addition, iOS 6 will feature a new Bluetooth 4 bridging feature that will finally make a proper iPod nano watch possible. Interesting!
Over at iLounge, Editor Jeremy Horowitz writes:
According to two sources, Apple’s new Dock Connector features only 8 pins, seemingly contradicting claims of “16-pin” and “19-pin” connectors. Although the original Dock Connector contained 30 pins, reports of 16- or 19-pin connectors seemed hard to square with the port’s small size and Apple’s actual need for additional pins beyond what USB/Micro-USB offer. No images or parts for the connector have leaked out, either. Both of our sources concur that there are eight pins in a line within the new Dock Connector, which may well receive a different name going forward….
One source claims that the new connector will feature other design innovations, potentially including the ability to be connected to docks and cables in either orientation (like MagSafe), but the other source could not confirm this or additional changes we’ve heard about…
This is a hard report for me to believe.
For one thing, iLounge claims that Apple doesn’t need more pins than what USB offers, but as we’ve shown in our extensive look at the past and future of the Apple Dock Connector, Apple’s design has many advantages over USB which they are unlikely to abandon. For another, the reason 19 pins makes sense is because there are exactly eleven pins on the 30 pin dock connector that are obsolete: the other 19 are still actively being used by accessory makers! An 8-pin dock connector would presumably make a huge number of accessories on the market obsolete, even with an adapter.
That all said, iLounge is right: in images of the new Apple dock connector, it is undeniably a smaller port than 19-pins would seem to call for. Either Apple has figured out a way to more densely pack those pins, or we’re looking at a bigger upset in the third-party iDevice accessory market than we have thought, in which many of our legacy accessories are suddenly (and forcefully) put out to pasture.
In addition to iLounge’s 8-Pin Dock Connector claim, they say that iOS 6 will allow iOS devices to connect to one another through Bluetooth 4. Here are some possible uses described:
The feature would enable, say, a future iPod nano to display iMessages received by an iPhone, record voice memos that could be shared via the iPhone, and even initiate phone calls through its own headphones. It could also conceivably let you make iPhone calls from your iPad (or possibly even recent Macs), assuming the iPhone was paired with the computer over Bluetooth.
That iPod nano capability would be pretty sweet, finally making the nano a useful iWatch that you can send and receive text messages and phone calls on. This rumor’s a lot easier for me to believe than the 8-pin one. What do you think?