Apple’s new iPhone will drop the wide dock connector used in the company’s gadgets for the best part of a decade in favour of a smaller one, a change likely to annoy the Apple faithful but which could be a boon for accessory makers.
The iPhone 5, Apple’s next generation iPhone expected to go on sale around October, will come with a 19-pin connector port at the bottom instead of the proprietary 30-pin port “to make room for the earphone moving to the bottom”, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
That would mean the new phone would not connect with the myriad of accessories such as speakers and power chargers that form part of the ecosystem around iPods, iPads and iPhones, without an adaptor.
That means new business, analysts say. “It represents an opportunity for accessory vendors,” said Pete Cunningham, London-based analyst at technology research firm Canalys. “The iPhone connector has been a standard for a long time now and I would expect the same to be true for a new connector, should Apple change it as expected.”
Apple did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment.
Apple has already said that some users of older models of its Macbook computers won’t be able to use the latest operating system to be announced soon, but analysts think it will be kinder to mobile gadget users.
Tech blogs have long speculated on the demise of the 30-pin connector, which at 21 mm wide takes up a chunk of space, especially as the latest technologies such as microUSB offer more power in less space.
They say that a smaller connector would give Apple more scope for new product designs or a bigger battery, or simply to make ever smaller products.
Switzerland’s Logitech, one of the biggest makers of Apple speakers, declined to comment.
But some enterprising vendors in China have already begun offering cases for the new phone, complete with earphone socket on the bottom and a “guarantee” the dimensions are correct.
For some in the peripherals industry, the change could open doors to new business.
“iPod docking speaker sales have been declining for one or two years,” said an employee of a Hong Kong-based company that designs speakers especially for Apple products.