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.