Apple formalizes 8-pin 'Ultra Accessory Connector' for switching headphones from Lightning...

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited February 7
Apple has issued a developer preview for a connector, dubbed the Ultra Accessory Connector, intended to ease connectivity and adapter problems associated with "Made for i"-certified headphones, allowing them to be switched out for USB-C or legacy 3.5-millimeter audio cables.




Originally reported by 9to5Mac, and independently confirmed by AppleInsider, the Ultra Accessory Connector (UAC) is a non-symmetrical 8-pin connector measuring 2.05mm thick, 4.85mm wide and apparently half as deep as the symmetrical USB-C and Lightning specifications, and appears to be very similar to the 8-pin connector on a Nikon DSLR camera. For comparison, Apple's Lightning connector is 1.5mm thick, 6.73mm wide, and 7mm deep.

The new connector is positioned as a headphone-side connector for both male and female versions. It appears aimed at providing a universal connection point on the headphone side, with interchangeable cables to accommodate a host device, such as Lightning, USB-C, or even a 3.5mm headset jack.

Trying to confirm details about the new port, AppleInsider spoke with an accessory maker familiar with Apple's plans, and they noted that they weren't sure what Apple has in mind, what the port would be specifically used for, or how it would be an improvement over anything currently on the market. The developer preview supplied to accessory designers is reportedly light on details, generating some confusion surrounding the port.

Lightning does not carry analog audio. USB-C cables can, assuming that they are compliant with the USB Audio Device Class (ADC) 3.0 standard -- but decoding the signal requires a similarly equipped device at the other end of the cable. If the UAC spec is designed to the ADC 3.0 specification or similar, the specification allows for one connector to carry digital audio through a cable with Lightning, either digital or analog audio with a USB-C end, or analog audio through a 3.5mm to UAC cable.

The Verge citing sources at Apple, reports that the company has no intention of replacing Lightning or USB-C with the connector. Further, Apple itself told Ars Technica the port is being added at the request of MFi program licensees, not because the company is trying to force adoption of yet another connector.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,203member
    This is not a new connector, and it is apparently nothing Apple themselves intend to use. They've merely certified it to be used for "Made for iOS" Lightning adapters and accessories. It's in use by various manufacturers as yet another standard USB connector. https://arstechnica.com/apple/2017/02/no-apple-isnt-developing-an-all-new-port-for-accessory-makers/
    gatorguyrepressthisphilboogiecalimattinozcornchiprandominternetpersonpscooter63Solinetmage
  • Reply 2 of 46
    sog35sog35 Posts: 12,367member
    great move by Tim Cook!

    We see $150 stock for sure this year.

    Look, I was wrong about it hitting $150 in 2015. Fine, but better late then never. My timing may have been wrong, but that does not really matter for LONG TERM investors. 

    Plus 2016 gave everyone a chance to buy at sub $100 and reap a 50%+ profit!!!


    cornchip
  • Reply 3 of 46
    pixelwashpixelwash Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    The earpods Apple ships with current phones are Lightning, and analog, so the claim in this article that Lightning cannot carry analog audio is wrong. They also carry digital and power too, clearly.
  • Reply 4 of 46
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,656member
    pixelwash said:
    The earpods Apple ships with current phones are Lightning, and analog
    No they are not analog. There is a digital to analog converter and headphone amplifier inside their lightning plug:

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/16/09/20/teardown-finds-dac-chips-in-apples-lightning-earpods-lightning-to-35mm-adapter-for-iphone-7/amp/
    edited February 6 sphericdysamoriatmaycornchiprandominternetpersonnetmage1983mike1argonaut
  • Reply 5 of 46
    irelandireland Posts: 16,530member
    Non-symmetrical is insane.
    dysamoriacalicornchiptallest skil1983watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 46
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 117member
    "an accessory maker...noted that they weren't sure... how it would be an improvement over anything currently on the market"

    This

    dysamoriawatto_cobrabaconstang
  • Reply 7 of 46
    spheric said:
    This is not a new connector, and it is apparently nothing Apple themselves intend to use. They've merely certified it to be used for "Made for iOS" Lightning adapters and accessories. It's in use by various manufacturers as yet another standard USB connector. https://arstechnica.com/apple/2017/02/no-apple-isnt-developing-an-all-new-port-for-accessory-makers/
    Don't understand why these writers don't check for facts either.

    "...independently confirmed by AppleInsider..."


    Oh wait, they did! Allegedly... 😂
    randominternetpersonrevenantpscooter63netmage
  • Reply 8 of 46
    Maybe I am missing something here. But, I understand what this is. At least I think I do. Most high end headphone already have something similar to this. This is an interconnect standard for users to be able to easily change the cables in use with their headphones. Since there are three standards in use right now, USB-C, lightning, and the old analog, a common interconnect on the other end of the headphones to make it easier to change cables. One end is this new connector and connects to the headphones, the other end would be either lightning (presumably with an AMP/DAC in the cable) or USB-C, or even the old analog connector. Standardized interconnect for the side of the cable on the headphone side is a good idea. 
    cornchip1983
  • Reply 9 of 46
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 3,653member
    The stupidity being displayed in the blogosphere is staggering.  It's just amazing that most people don't bother to read past a headline, and in this case, a headline that is certainly worded to imply that Apple is trying to pull another stunt.

    No matter how many times the correct information is published, it will matter not since most readers have an attention-span of a mosquito to care.  Logic and reading comprehension is just too much for the concrete-brains that are spewing their anti-Apple hate.
    tmayandrewj5790cornchippscooter63viclauyycnetmage1983watto_cobradamn_its_hot
  • Reply 10 of 46
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,192member
    I don't get what this is meant to be used for. Yes, I read the text describing it. 
    adamc
  • Reply 11 of 46
    spheric said:
    This is not a new connector, and it is apparently nothing Apple themselves intend to use. They've merely certified it to be used for "Made for iOS" Lightning adapters and accessories. It's in use by various manufacturers as yet another standard USB connector. https://arstechnica.com/apple/2017/02/no-apple-isnt-developing-an-all-new-port-for-accessory-makers/
    Don't understand why these writers don't check for facts either.

    "...independently confirmed by AppleInsider..."


    Oh wait, they did! Allegedly... 😂
    Why do you think we didn't break the story? We were more interested in completeness and checking on it, because the sensationalized bits smelled bad.
    watto_cobralorin schultz
  • Reply 12 of 46

    pixelwash said:
    The earpods Apple ships with current phones are Lightning, and analog, so the claim in this article that Lightning cannot carry analog audio is wrong. They also carry digital and power too, clearly.
    Like Mr. H said, there's no analog audio passed through Lightning - only digital. 

    The Lightning spec has no analog channel.
    revenantnetmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 46
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,944member
    MiFi is one of the things that makes Apple suck as a electronics vendor.    If Apple really wanted to do something constructive they would get rid of the MiFi program and free up their I/O.
  • Reply 14 of 46
    anomeanome Posts: 622member

    If I understand this correctly, this is mainly used by other manufacturers where Apple have mostly been using Lightning. (IE connecting and charging normally wireless peripherals - in fairness, this isn't what Lightning was originally designed for, but it seems to have been convenient for them at the time).

    So this is really about Apple providing support for connecting third party devices that already use this port, rather than the possibility that Apple will release something with this port on it. They could, but I don't see them selling anything with a  unidirectional connector. Plus I don't see them ditching Lightning in the near future. (While it might make sense to go USB-C for everything, Apple and their customers have some investment in Lightning, and by the time they'll be in a position where it makes sense, they will probably be looking at something new.)

  • Reply 15 of 46
    ireland said:
    Non-symmetrical is insane.
    That line struck me as well. Is it shaped like a T-bone steak or what?
    dysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 46
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,335member
    hexclock said:
    ireland said:
    Non-symmetrical is insane.
    That line struck me as well. Is it shaped like a T-bone steak or what?
    I think it simply means it has a "top" and a "bottom" shape, like a USB connecter or the older Apple connectors...?
    Or whatever the heck Kindles use.
  • Reply 17 of 46
    spheric said:
    This is not a new connector, and it is apparently nothing Apple themselves intend to use. They've merely certified it to be used for "Made for iOS" Lightning adapters and accessories. It's in use by various manufacturers as yet another standard USB connector. https://arstechnica.com/apple/2017/02/no-apple-isnt-developing-an-all-new-port-for-accessory-makers/
    Don't understand why these writers don't check for facts either.

    "...independently confirmed by AppleInsider..."


    Oh wait, they did! Allegedly... 😂
    Why do you think we didn't break the story? We were more interested in completeness and checking on it, because the sensationalized bits smelled bad.
    And I would like to thank you. You're the only outlet where I read this story and had all the facts. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 46
    hexclock said:
    ireland said:
    Non-symmetrical is insane.
    That line struck me as well. Is it shaped like a T-bone steak or what?
    Add me to the list of thinking, are they crazy.  People had enough problems fumbling around and force pushing the smaller USB connectors in.   Now they want to make something even smaller that's not symmetrical.   You're going to have to buy a magnifying glass to know which way to put these things in and if you want to try to do it in the dark, forget about it.

    The good news is that once everyone gets the peripherals, dongles, and cables for this needless port,  Apple can say, Jony spent years in the labs and designed a new  version of this needless port which is now symetrical, one micron thinner and made of aluminum.   We can then go out and replace the peripherals, dongles and cables we just bought a few years back.  It really keeps the economy going.  Thanks Apple.

    Call me crazy, but why can't they just update the lightning cable port spec to include analog audio, if that's what this is really about.   I mean, the USB standard was upgraded several times using the same USB-A connector,  why can't they do this with the lighting connector and maybe a specialized cable.  Why are they going backwards with a non symmetrical port?
    viclauyycbrucemc
  • Reply 19 of 46
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,192member
    boredumb said:
    hexclock said:
    ireland said:
    Non-symmetrical is insane.
    That line struck me as well. Is it shaped like a T-bone steak or what?
    I think it simply means it has a "top" and a "bottom" shape, like a USB connecter or the older Apple connectors...?
    Or whatever the heck Kindles use.
    That means reversible or non-reversible. Symmetry means that the left and right sides are the same, only mirrored, if divided down the middle.
  • Reply 20 of 46
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,165member
    pixelwash said:
    The earpods Apple ships with current phones are Lightning, and analog, so the claim in this article that Lightning cannot carry analog audio is wrong. They also carry digital and power too, clearly.
    Lightning does NOT carry analog audio signals. It can carry digital. The Lightning EarPods and 3.5mm adapter contain a DAC that converts the digital signal to analog and vice versa.
Sign In or Register to comment.