Apple’s New Lightning Connector Supports USB Hosting [Report]

Apple’s New Lightning Connector Supports USB Hosting [Report]

With the new Lightning Dock, Apple has ruthlessly ditched a lot of the cruft of the 30-pin past, leaving a lot of existing accessories less functional than they were. Although you’ll still be able to use audio-out and charging functionality in your iPhone 5 using older iPhone accessories using the Lightning to 30-Pin Adapter, Apple’s ditched video out and iPod out this generation.

But the new Lightning Adapter, while closing some doors, also opens some new possibilities. A new report says that Lightning gives USB host abilities to the iPhone 5.

While the iPad has had USB host capability for awhile now through the Apple Camera Connection Kit, it didn’t work on the iPhone. Lightning supposedly changes that, according to Japanese Apple blog Macotakara, making a lot of new accessory types possible: MIDI controllers, external mics, cameras, keyboards, potentially anything that you can connect via USB.

Of course, what accessories will work with the iPhone 5, new iPod touch and new iPod nano will be limited to what Apple officially supports, but in theory, this opens the door to more fully-featured accessories than what was previously possible. Which is as it should be: this is a connector that needs to get Apple through the next decade of the post-PC age.

  • TheKnightWhoSaysNi

    At $30 a pop those adapters are a joke.
    Until cheap adapters become available on eBay or Amazon I won’t be upgrading.

  • theobserving

    People are such friggin whiners about this Lightning port.

    Get over yourselves. Boo hoo, your iHome won’t work. So what? Get with the times – AirPlay, etc. or man up and buy the adapter. They had the same port on the devices for 9 (!) years. Think about how much has changed in the Apple universe in 9 years – how many iterations of OS X and iOS (Heck, iOS period), Intel and PowerPC, Mac power adapters, the proliferation of wireless peripherals, the gradual decline of physical media, multitouch trackpads and so on. And you’re going to bitch about something that is more efficient and moves the product line forward – over $30? Get a grip.

    Be a big boy and realize you can either buy a $30 adapter for your craptastic speaker set, wait til a new version of the peripheral comes out with Lightning and invariably costs well over $30 or don’t upgrade, period. And if it’s your car iPod adapter that is the issue – are you really bitching because your $30,000 car needs a $30 plug? You can’t tank up your car for $30 in the US.

    Every time some new development is pushed forward, there’s always some group that has to be aghast and moan and groan about it. Ooo – Thunderbolt, ooo – no Firewire on the iPod, ooo – OS X looks like iOS. I firmly believe some people bitch simply to bitch because they have nothing better to do. That or they’re so stuck on themselves they think that any change that might be even a minor inconvenience to them is viewed as some personal affront to them specifically from some huge multinational company that doesn’t know or care who they are. You are not a snowflake – get it?

    And you know what else? if you won’t be in line for it, at least it moves me one space closer to the store in the line that will inevitably be there on launch day.

    /rant

  • Matthew Gonzales Landry

    People are such friggin whiners about this Lightning port.

    Get over yourselves. Boo hoo, your iHome won’t work. So what? Get with the times – AirPlay, etc. or man up and buy the adapter. They had the same port on the devices for 9 (!) years. Think about how much has changed in the Apple universe in 9 years – how many iterations of OS X and iOS (Heck, iOS period), Intel and PowerPC, Mac power adapters, the proliferation of wireless peripherals, the gradual decline of physical media, multitouch trackpads and so on. And you’re going to bitch about something that is more efficient and moves the product line forward – over $30? Get a grip.

    Be a big boy and realize you can either buy a $30 adapter for your craptastic speaker set, wait til a new version of the peripheral comes out with Lightning and invariably costs well over $30 or don’t upgrade, period. And if it’s your car iPod adapter that is the issue – are you really bitching because your $30,000 car needs a $30 plug? You can’t tank up your car for $30 in the US.

    Every time some new development is pushed forward, there’s always some group that has to be aghast and moan and groan about it. Ooo – Thunderbolt, ooo – no Firewire on the iPod, ooo – OS X looks like iOS. I firmly believe some people bitch simply to bitch because they have nothing better to do. That or they’re so stuck on themselves they think that any change that might be even a minor inconvenience to them is viewed as some personal affront to them specifically from some huge multinational company that doesn’t know or care who they are. You are not a snowflake – get it?

    And you know what else? if you won’t be in line for it, at least it moves me one space closer to the store in the line that will inevitably be there on launch day.

    /rant

    Craptastic speaker set? A $400 speaker is not fantastic, and people can complain all they want about the price. If you let these ridiculous charges go unnoticed Apple will think it can continue to overcharge for the small things. A lightning to USB cord is $20!!! The wall adapter is, what, $30? So if you need the wall adapter and the lightning cord, it’s $50?! That’s fucking ridiculous. Stop riding Apple’s dick. Just because you own Apple stock doesn’t mean you have to be so anti-consumer.

  • theobserving
    People are such friggin whiners about this Lightning port.

    Get over yourselves. Boo hoo, your iHome won’t work. So what? Get with the times – AirPlay, etc. or man up and buy the adapter. They had the same port on the devices for 9 (!) years. Think about how much has changed in the Apple universe in 9 years – how many iterations of OS X and iOS (Heck, iOS period), Intel and PowerPC, Mac power adapters, the proliferation of wireless peripherals, the gradual decline of physical media, multitouch trackpads and so on. And you’re going to bitch about something that is more efficient and moves the product line forward – over $30? Get a grip.

    Be a big boy and realize you can either buy a $30 adapter for your craptastic speaker set, wait til a new version of the peripheral comes out with Lightning and invariably costs well over $30 or don’t upgrade, period. And if it’s your car iPod adapter that is the issue – are you really bitching because your $30,000 car needs a $30 plug? You can’t tank up your car for $30 in the US.

    Every time some new development is pushed forward, there’s always some group that has to be aghast and moan and groan about it. Ooo – Thunderbolt, ooo – no Firewire on the iPod, ooo – OS X looks like iOS. I firmly believe some people bitch simply to bitch because they have nothing better to do. That or they’re so stuck on themselves they think that any change that might be even a minor inconvenience to them is viewed as some personal affront to them specifically from some huge multinational company that doesn’t know or care who they are. You are not a snowflake – get it?

    And you know what else? if you won’t be in line for it, at least it moves me one space closer to the store in the line that will inevitably be there on launch day.

    /rant

    Craptastic speaker set? A $400 speaker is not fantastic, and people can complain all they want about the price. If you let these ridiculous charges go unnoticed Apple will think it can continue to overcharge for the small things. A lightning to USB cord is $20!!! The wall adapter is, what, $30? So if you need the wall adapter and the lightning cord, it’s $50?! That’s fucking ridiculous. Stop riding Apple’s dick. Just because you own Apple stock doesn’t mean you have to be so anti-consumer.

    Let’s clear a few things up, since you clearly are new to the rodeo.

    1. If you spent $400 on your speakers, then $30 to adapt them is not terrible.

    2. I don’t own Apple stock. I just don’t bitch like a 6 year old when they make business decisions.

    3. Let’s break down how the cable/wall adapter thing works, because, again, you aren’t very experienced in this area: dock cable (no wall adapter included) is $20; wall adapter (which INCLUDES the cable) is $30. So, if you want the wall adapter it’s $30, not $50 for a complete setup. Same $20 for the cable and $10 for the plug itself. And since we don’t have a tear down report on these cables, we can’t say what they’re “worth”, but again, it’s the same cost as the 30pin dock connectors. Say it with me: “at least they didn’t raise the price.”

    Thanks for playing. And by the way, I worked at Apple for several years, and I’m quite pro customer after that stint, because most of the walk ins are at least as uneducated as you about the store – for example, a good many people would pick up a dock cable and a wall charger, when the charger had the cable – and clearly need assistance. In fact, I love Apple products and am not a huge fan of their corporate politics. But I also understand technology moves forward and sometimes you have to sacrifice the past to move ahead. Once you come to that realization, you won’t have to get huffy because you assume someone is “riding Apple’s dick.”

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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