Apple’s next connector might be smaller than Lightning

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Lightning headphone adapter
The Ultra Accessories Connector will be better than Lightning.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The Lightning connector may soon get replaced as the go-to port on Made for iPhone devices, according to a new report that reveals Apple is currently working on an even smaller connector.

Apple’s tiny new connector is called the Ultra Accessory Connector, or UAC for short, and will soon be used by iPhone and iPad accessory makers, allowing them to save space by ditching Lightning and USB-C.

The new UAC standard was recently launched as a developer preview, reports 9to5Mac, which says in some cases the new connector will replace Lightning and USB for charging, audio and data connections.

The Ultra Accessory Connector

Apple’s tiny connector supposedly sports a similar shape as the ultra mini USB connectors that come with cameras and other accessories. The UAC will feature 8 pins and come in a form factor that’s slightly thinner than USB-C — and about half the width of Lightning.

Measuring just 2.05mm by 4.85mm at the tip, UAC will mostly be used on headphone cables. Accessory manufacturers will be allowed to make Lightning to UAC, USB-A to UAC, and 3.5mm headset jacks to UAC. This would allow headphones with a UAC port to connect to multiple Apple devices, now that the company has killed the headphone jack.

The port will most likely be built into Beats headphones and other accessories. It’s unclear if Apple plans to expand the use of the port to other products like the iPhone.