By Resurrecting The iPad 4, Apple Moves Closer To A Lightning-Only World

(image credit: Ars Technica)

(image credit: Ars Technica)

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would argue that Apple’s Lightning connector isn’t superior to the old 30-pin connector in every way. That’s why it’s surprising that it has taken Apple so long to phase 30-pin out of its product lineup.

Today Apple brought back the fourth-gen iPad to replace the non-Retina iPad 2. While the press release focuses on the obvious display upgrade, discontinuing the iPad 2 means something else that’s important: another nail in the coffin for 30-pin.

(via Apple's online store)

If you look at Apple’s iPad lineup now, each tablet is Lightning-equipped. It has taken nearly two years, but Apple has managed to unify an entire product group around a shared connector.

Not only is Lightning 80% smaller than 30-pin, but it’s also reversible and more durable. Most third-party accessory makers have completely switched to Lightning or USB by now, but companies like Belkin and Griffin still sell 30-pin cables. Apple sells a Lightning to 30-pin adapter for $29.

30-pin still lives thanks mainly to the iPhone 4s

In the current iPhone lineup, 30-pin still lives thanks mainly to the iPhone 4s. And with reports that Apple is still manufacturing the iPhone 4 in developing markets like India, it may take a little longer for Lightning to become entirely ubiquitous. The iPhone 5c seems positioned to take the place of the 4s as Apple’s lowest-tier phone. Whether it happens this year or the next, it’s only a matter of time before the 30-pin connector is completely retired.

Unless you include the iPod Classic. It seems like that thing will never die.

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About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too. All DMs excepted.

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