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Summary:

The 30-pin dock connector featured on every iPhone and iPad ever sold by Apple, as well as a huge number of iPods, may be headed for history’s dustbin. Apple is reportedly considering a move to a smaller connector on the next iPhone.

Apple iPhone 4S 30-pin dock connector

Apple iPhone 4S 30-pin dock connectorFor a company as forward-thinking as Apple has been in the mobile world, it still depends on a relic of its pre-iOS days as the primary connection for charging iPhones and iPads. But now that Apple can update its iOS devices over wireless networks, the 30-pin connector may have run its course.

iMore.com reported Friday that Apple will likely get rid of the 30-pin connector in the next version of the iPhone in favor of something smaller that could help it accommodate 4G LTE radios, and it’s about time. Unfortunately, the site doesn’t think Apple will follow the lead of the rest of the smartphone market and embrace the micro USB standard for phone chargers, but it’s still a notable development.

The 30-pin dock connector has been the primary doorway into the iPod for years. It was the only way to install software updates on an iPhone or iPad until iOS 5 introduced over-the-air updates, and an easy target for those who believed Apple wasn’t living up to its “post-PC” words by requiring a physical connection to a computer for such an important task.

Eliminating the (relatively) bulky connector could make it easier for Apple to include 4G wireless connections in the next iPhone without having to make an iPhone as big as some of the Android models (like the Galaxy Nexus) that connect to 4G networks. It also means a legion of accessory makers will have to get on board with a new standard on which Apple will probably continue to charge royalties to use in their products. The success of an iPhone accessory maker like Square that bypassed the 30-pin connector altogether with its credit-card reader may have also prompted Apple to come up with a new connector that offers unique advantages.

But to take things a step further, is Apple also willing to embrace wireless charging with the next iPhone, along the lines of what Palm introduced for certain models of the Pre? That might force the company to make some tough decisions about the materials it uses in the iPhone, a notoriously sensitive subject. But wireless charging is a great idea for users, and it would also allow Apple to sell some sleek wireless charging stations at a tidy profit.

  1. Apple has shown interest in Magsafe for iOS devices, even a fiber optic version of MagSafe in two patents of theirs. See for yourself.

    1) http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2010/12/apples-next-iteration-of-magsafe-may-include-fiber-optics.html

    2) http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2011/08/apple-wins-key-patents-for-multi-touch-displays-magsafe-for-future-ipad-more.html

    So if they’re dumping a 30pin connector for iOS devices, they may be eyeing magsafe.

    I hope that this adds to the conversation.

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  2. Call me ambitious but sooner or later: Thunderbolt.

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  3. Investor Junkie Sunday, February 26, 2012

    Why have a connector at all? That would be forward thinking.

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  4. Good review. I am looking for a 3D fone. I really got fasinated with this one. What would u suggest? http://bit.ly/wvOvoU

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  5. Of course Apple won’t adopt an industry standard like micro-USB. They have their customer base by the balls; why would they loosen their grip on us even slightly? God forbid you buy an iPhone and not need to buy a slew of iPhone-specific hardware to go along with it. Industry standards just mess with Apple’s business model of cornering their market. Standards, schmandards.

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    1. Apple standarized on the 30 pin connector 8 years before the rest of the industry decided to even have a standard. Micro USB sucks. If I want to hook the phone up to a TV, gotta have an HDMI cable. If I want to hook the phone up and control it via car head unit, can’t do that over Micro USB either. Apple did it right from the beginning, everyone else still got it wrong.

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