September 12, 2012: The Lightning connector replaces Apple’s aging 30-pin interface, a proprietary data and power connector that debuted on the iPod Classic in 2003. The slender and capable new Lightning port debuts in the iPhone 5, bringing big improvements — and no small amount of controversy.
Apple soon will build the Lightning connector into many other products, including iPad, iPod and accessories. It’s used to charge the mobile devices as well as transfer data to a Mac or PC.
Back in the distant mists of 2012, everyone needed an adapter to plug their collection of 30-pin charging cables into Apple’s new Lightning port. Fast forward to today and this once crucial accessory is no longer necessary. To the point where it’s been dropped from the online Apple Store.
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.
Lightning might be the connector of the future, and quite frankly it already seems absurd to me that I have to plug Apple’s huge old 30-pin dock connector into my little last-gen Nano just to charge it, but the oversized, hard-to-insert adapter will be hanging around for as long as people still have their perfectly good last-gen iDevices.
And Tylt’s Band Wall Charger looks to be a rather excellent charger for you luddites out there.
Upset that after almost a decade, Apple is finally changing the Dock Connector with the new, smaller Lightning Standard? Redditor Ima13X puts it in perspective.
The image makes a great point: Samsung’s had a million proprietary connectors for its devices over the last decade, while Apple’s only had two. However, it’s worth noting that it’s this very consistency in proprietary connectors that allowed Apple to build up a massive third-party “Made for iPhone”, “Made for iPad” and “Made for iPod” licensing business… a business that Samsung’s never managed at all.
So changing the 30-Pin Dock Connector to Lightning is a big deal. The ramnifications on Apple’s accessory ecosystem are huge. As long as Apple doesn’t get in the habit of changing this connector frivolously, though, and has built Lightning to be as future proof (or more so) than the 30-Pin Dock Connector, this changes means fresh billions earned, not just for Apple, but its accessory partners.
Rumors of a smaller iOS dock connector have been continuing to surface in the weeks leading up to Apple’s September fall event. Initially the consensus was that we’d see a smaller 19-pin connector in the new iPhone, but lately the word on the street is that Apple will use even less pins—possibly as few as 8. Leaked photos of the next iPhone’s exterior show a much smaller dock connector, and the change is likely to meant to accommodate the device’s slimmer design.
According to a new report today, Apple will update not one, not two, but all of its iOS devices with a smaller dock connector this fall.
I’m totally against the wrapping of wires, ever since being shouted at on a movie location for over-enthusiastically coiling audio and power cables around my thumb and elbow. Apparently that’s not how it’s done by the pros, and the experience has made me wince every time I see somebody stretching their headphone cables around their iPod.
Still, I’m clearly in the (superior) minority, and the The Wrap proves it. It’s a plastic 3-D printed widget which wrangles your cable into order.
With rumors heating up again about the next iPhone featuring a smaller 19-pin dock connector, iMore is now saying that Apple will provide an adapter to give the upcoming iPhone’s smaller dock connector the ability to interface with 30-pin accessories and ports. As the site that originally started the smaller iPhone dock rumor, we have reason to believe that iMore’s report is accurate.
Thousands of accessory and peripheral makers have undoubtedly been shaking in their boots since the rumors started about a 19-pin connector in the sixth-gen iPhone, and Apple’s adapter should stem the tide until third-parties can make updated accessories for the new architecture.
Almost nightly I scrabble around in the dark trying to find the 30-pin dock connector dangling from my desk so I can plug it onto my depleted iPad without disturbing the Lady, sleeping beside me. I say “almost” as sometimes I fall into a drunken sleep with my spectacles askew and the iPad still in my lap or – more often – the Lady refuses to sleep with me and goes to her own room.
And every time I struggle to find the plug, I wish for something like the illuminated CordLite cable.
We already know from previous reports that Apple is working on a magnetic charging system for iOS devices, similar to the MagSafe connectors on its MacBooks. But one hurdle that stood in the company’s way was the MagSafe’s inability to transfer data.
However, a newly published patent entitled “Programmable Magnetic Connectors” seems to confirm that Apple is making progress on a magnetic connector capable of transferring power and data, which could spell the end of its 30-pin dock connector and even the headphone jack.