Apple is expected to launch the highly anticipated iPhone 5 next month at an event that will apparently be held on September 12. While the rumored features for the new device have included a larger screen, faster processor, completely new design, and 4G LTE compatibility, the feature that has perhaps some of the highest expectations is a brand new dock connector.
The new dock connector is expected to be rolled out across the entire iOS device line-up, but the iPhone 5 will reportedly be the first device that will receive it. According to the latest reports, the new dock connector will only possess 8 pins instead of the 30 pins that are found in the current dock connector, and will feature a much smaller interface. While it has been established with relative certainty (relative certainty in as much as any Apple rumor), very little is actually known about the new dock interface, which is pretty interesting how much is riding on the new interface.
There are perhaps two questions which are generating intense interest in the new dock connector, the answers to which will seemingly not be found until Apple actually unveils the new dock connector, even despite all of the leaked details. The first question relates to what speeds the new dock connector will operate at i.e. will it be just as fast as a Thunderbolt or USB 3 connection or will it stay at current speeds?
Certainly, Apple was previously awarded a patent earlier last year for a new dock connector that was USB 3 and Thunderbolt compatible, but the dock connector that was pictured in the patent application looked exactly like the existing dock connector rather than the 8 pin version. That said, it’s likely that the new connector will indeed sport Thunderbolt compatibility as it would not be a good idea for Apple to release a new dock connector which will have such an enormous impact on third party peripherals, and yet didn’t offer increased data transmission rates.
The second question relates to the mechanism of connectivity i.e. will the new 8 pin dock connector have a magnetic component to it that will allow connection like a MagSafe adapter for the Mac. Certainly, some reports have suggested that it will have a metal ring and that it would indeed be magnetic, but others have pictured what looks like a plastic ring around the connector which, unless it was metal coated in a very thin polymer, would not offer magnetic contact.
It’s not long until the new iPhone is unveiled, but the dock connector is worth a thought. If only for a minute or two.