Apple retail stores are now installing special dock connectors to prevent iOS devices from being stolen. They look just like the regular USB cable that ships with every iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but they feature a nifty anti-left lock that prevents them from being removed from the device — essentially tethering the unit to the table.
The connector was first spotted by an AppleInsider reader, and it has since been confirmed that they are in use at a number of stores across the United States. They seem to be in short supply at the moment, however, only being used for more expensive products like the new iPad, and those situated close to the store’s entrance.
Once installed, the cable looks no different to a regular USB cable. The only way to tell it apart is the padlock logo emblazoned on its front in place of the standard logo.
It’s unclear how the cables are removed once installed. It’s thought that a special tool is required to eject them from the device without causing any damage, but an Apply employee refused to talk about the intricacies of the new connector. A source did claim, however, that the cables are alarmed — just like the wire cables Apple uses to prevent iOS devices and accessories from being stolen.
This connector is likely to replace those wire cables eventually, which are only attached to devices with a small adhesive patch that can be removed with enough force.