When Apple switches over to a smaller 9-pin Dock Connecter for the iPhone 5 and iPad mini, all your existing cables, chargers and accessories won’t work without an adapter. According to a new report, you won’t just be able to pick up that adapter anywhere: only Apple will sell them, in packs of one or three.
iLounge reports that Apple is setting itself up to be the “exclusive initial vendor” of Dock Connector Adapters, which it will sell for $10 a pop or $29 for a pack of three, alongside a new Apple-branded USB cable that will cost $19 each.
This has got cable-makers and third-party accessory makers nervous, to say the least:
While leaks of the new connector have been numerous, Apple has remained mum on what developers are calling the “9-pin Connector,” even though sources claim that Apple has in recent months stopped approving third-party proposals for connector-equipped accessories. Some developers fear that Apple will corner the market for both the adapters and cables, much as it did with MagSafe connectors for MacBook laptops, using licensing agreements and threats of lawsuits to prevent less expensive third-party solutions from coming to market. One source notes that Apple will reap a windfall by limiting competition in this manner, generating revenues of $100 million for every 10 million Dock Connector Adapters it sells for $10. According to the source, Apple estimates that it will sell the first 10 million Adapters by the end of 2012. It remains unclear whether Apple will allow third-party developers to release competing alternatives before then, or afterwards.
Given how elegantly designed the new Dock Connector appears to be, it seems natural Apple wants to limit crappy knock-offs and alternatives, as it has done with the MagSafe connector. Not everyone’s going to be happy about that, though.