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Apple job listings hint at plans for new iPod connector design

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
A pair of newly-listed job postings on Apple's "Jobs at Apple" webpage point to a possible redesign of the current 30-pin dock connector used by the company's portable devices since the third generation iPod was released in 2003.

The descriptions of the two identical listings, uncovered by Tech Cruch, are titled "Connector Design Engineer" and "Product Design Eng - Connector" with both looking for a lead engineer who will be in charge of managing "multiple connector designs and developments" for the iPod.

From the listings:

The Connector Design Engineer will be responsible for managing multiple connector designs and developments in support of the iPod product lines. Cross-functional development and consulting will be a major part of your daily work. As a Lead Engineer you be responsible for identifying appropriate connection technology requirements for new products and follow through with selection and development of suitable interconnect products. This will often involve adaptation of existing connectors or complete new designs. Interfacing with connector suppliers to direct and implement the necessary design changes or creation of completely new designs will also be a major part of your daily work.


Apple is asking for the usual engineering pedigree, complete with experience in tooling and off shore manufacturing and product development.

The Cupertino, Calif., company has long been rumored to be looking into replacing the long-lived iDevice connector, with the most recent reports noting that a change could provide for much-needed space in a next-generation iPhone.

Parts purported to be from Apple's upcoming handset show a significantly smaller dock connector hole at the base of the phone alongside a relocated headphone jack. If the photos are truly of the next-gen iPhone, Wednesday's advertised job openings could be for a project specifically tailored to the iPod line. This could mean that the venerable music player will one day sport an entirely different connector than those seen on iPhones and iPads, a notable change to the "one-size-fits-all" 30-pin component.
post #2 of 19
It better be MagSafe-derived! After nearly 10 years a redesign of this port demands MagSafe. Besides, on iPad 2 and 3 it needs something like that to be user-friendly.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post
It better be MagSafe-derived! After nearly 10 years a redesign of this port demands MagSafe.

 

Why? Are you often tripping over your iPhone cord and pulling the heavy phone onto the floor?

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post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

It better be MagSafe-derived! After nearly 10 years a redesign of this port demands MagSafe. Besides, on iPad 2 and 3 it needs something like that to be user-friendly.

Can we get MagSafe headphones, too? I want nothing more than to put my iPhone in my pocket and have the cable pop out.

Of course I'm joking but I am much more likely to snag my headphone cable on something than I am to snag my iPhone/iPad charging cable on something.

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post #5 of 19

I am looking forward to some MagSafe pants.

 

the iBelt

post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by msimpson View Post

I am looking forward to some MagSafe pants.

the iBelt

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post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Can we get MagSafe headphones, too? I want nothing more than to put my iPhone in my pocket and have the cable pop out.

Of course I'm joking but I am much more likely to snag my headphone cable on something than I am to snag my iPhone/iPad charging cable on something.

Try flying United's Business/First international; the headphone jack is above your shoulder-- it comes out nice and easy if you just sneeze.

I would love mag-safe for the iPad and iPhone because the docks would be much more elegant. Threading the phone down on the 30-pin connector dock in the dark is a pain. The newer non-latching cables are an improvement, but I'm spoiled by just being able to tug...
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

I would love mag-safe for the iPad and iPhone because the docks would be much more elegant. Threading the phone down on the 30-pin connector dock in the dark is a pain. The newer non-latching cables are an improvement, but I'm spoiled by just being able to tug...

I can see some utility and convenience in including the tech but I don't think it's necessary like it is in a notebook and I am pretty sure it's not even possible with today's technology.

On that last point consider the current MagSafe connector. It's a magnet around 4 connectors. Two are positive and 2 are negative for the DC current coming from the PSU. That magnetic connector is quite large for simply offering power. Sure, they could probably use a smaller magnet these days and, sure, they don't have to push as much power as a 17" MBP PSU has. But what about the 30 pins of the current connector?

They could knock out some pins if they get rid of the unused FireWire pins but could they still offer twenty-something pins and make it fit in the space we're seeing in these new leaks? I don't think so. And what about the way the current MagSafe connector is bi-directional with the inside pins being the same polarity and the outside pins being the same but opposite of the inside pins? Do you know have forty to fifty-something pins or do you make it only stick one way?

If you believe Occam's razor this simply isn't going to happen anytime soon.

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post #9 of 19
Quote:
This could mean that the venerable music player will one day sport an entirely different connector than those seen on iPhones and iPads, a notable change to the "one-size-fits-all" 30-pin component.

 

AI comes up with some really odd (stupid) predictions sometimes. Why on earth would they have a separate connector for ipods and ipads/phones?

 

If Apple truly do have a new smaller connector on the horizon we'll soon see smaller internals, smaller ports, redesigned product lines. Add to that the possibility of being backwards compatible with peripherals via an adaptor of some kind and it makes sense for Apple to be on the look out for talented engineers to add to their roster. No where in this logic does the idea of having separate ipod vs iphone connectors crop up...

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

It better be MagSafe-derived! After nearly 10 years a redesign of this port demands MagSafe. Besides, on iPad 2 and 3 it needs something like that to be user-friendly.

 

Oh, yes my brother! MagSafe connector on everything, except perhaps the little shuffle and nano? They may be too small for such a connector.

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

 

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post #11 of 19

Maybe they can reinvent the mini usb port.  WHOA!!!

post #12 of 19

Managing connector design? What's there to manage? Isn't it pretty much a one-person job to design connectors?

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post

Maybe they can reinvent the mini usb port.  WHOA!!!

 

That's what Leo Laporte and his guests thought the connector on the new "spy shots" of the alleged iPhone 5 (or whatever it's called) looked like. It would make sense since they have to standardize the connector for Europe, the US and Asia.

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post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A pair of newly-listed job postings on Apple's "Jobs at Apple" webpage point to a possible redesign of the current 30-pin dock connector used by the company's portable devices since the third generation iPod was released in 2003.
The descriptions of the two identical listings, uncovered by Tech Cruch, are titled "Connector Design Engineer" and "Product Design Eng - Connector" with both looking for a lead engineer who will be in charge of managing "multiple connector designs and developments" for the iPod.
...

 

This seems quite ridiculous on the face of it.  In almost every way. 

post #15 of 19

Maybe the next iPhone and other future devices will include thunderbolt whilst also being USB compatible.

post #16 of 19

This is progress, folks.  The dock connector is very large for the comparatively small devices that use them.  This was an inevitable change. (Just look at how long those huge Parallel/Centronics ports were used for connecting printers!).  I suspect the new connnector will be used for ALL devices that use the current 30-pin dock connector.

 

Apple already has a 30-pin Dock connector to mini-USB adapter to be compliant with European agreements, so I suspect a similar adapter will be used for allowing current 30-pin dock connectors to plug into a new smaller port.  Especially with so many car/boomboxes out there with the 30-pin connectors permanently installed.

 

After the last Apple product that ships with a 30-pin dock connector has reached the end of its support life, I suspect Apple will stop making 30-pin connectors, and allow third-party manufacturers to keep compatible cords going.

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ironsword View Post

Maybe the next iPhone and other future devices will include thunderbolt whilst also being USB compatible.

Yes, while magsafe would be nice and all, I think thunderbolt/USB would be better. Or better yet, both.

post #18 of 19

I realize this is unlikely, but I hope Apple adopts Thunderbolt as their new connector.  It's such an amazing technology that blows USB, FireWire, PCIx, and the rest of them away.  It's literally one technology to replace them all.

post #19 of 19

Thunderbolt is essentially the PCI bus extended off the motherboard and onto cables.  Additional lines carry DisplayPort signals.

 

On desktops and laptops it is easier to support because 1) those systems already have a PCI bus,   2)  Intel is providing support for it on some chipsets, and it can be added to others with additional chips.

 

On an iPhone or iPad, the additional support required in terms of chips, space and power are not worth tradeoffs.  

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