Though rumors of an upcoming "mini dock" connector for Apple's next-generation iOS devices have swirled for some time now, TechCrunch on Wednesday offered the most confident claim yet about Apple's plans for it by reporting that it had "independently verified" and "confirmed" the company is prepping a smaller 19-pin port for inclusion on its next iPhone.
According to the report, three independent manufacturers said Apple was working on the connector, adding that accessory makers are currently in limbo as they wait for Apple to officially announce the new standard, which will presumably be incompatible with current accessories. The new port would reportedly come close in size to the Thunderbolt port found on Apple's newest Macs, but it is not expected to have the same "pin-out."
Author John Biggs added that a purported video of the next-generation iPhone that surfaced earlier this month partially showed the new connector. That video appeared to show a sixth-generation iPhone metal back plate component with a smaller dock port.
The main reason for the new port is believed to be Apple's continual quest to free up space in its mobile devices. The dock connector was first introduced in 2003 in the third-generation iPod. The advent of iCloud and wireless syncing has also reduced user reliance on the dock connector.
At the least, Apple is hiring engineers to work on new iPod connectors. Late last month, the company posted job listings for design engineers who would help manage "multiple connector designs and developments."