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.

  • james

    One way its not superior? No audio line out. Sorry, but the headphone jack isnt the best source for audio.

    • Anthony Snyder

      Didn’t know that was a feature of the 30-pin.

      • Chris Reed

        Yup…. it is.

  • Chris Reed

    The iPod Classic is, indeed, a classic….

  • LordQuad


    james • 2 months ago
    One way its not superior? No audio line out. Sorry, but the headphone jack isnt the best source for audio.”
    That’s BS. Lightning sends digital audio ‘out’ (if you’d like to use an outboard DAC. I use DAC1 myself). Works the other way too. It’ll ‘accept’ digital input. I concur, don’t use the headphone out for audio but lightning definitely DOES carry a digital line out for audio (not analog, needs conversion which is good as external DACs are significantly better than what you’ll find on board ANY cell phone or tablet.)