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First rumored photos of new Dock Connector plug for iPhone 5 show 8 pins [u]

post #1 of 109
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New photos claiming to capture Apple's revised Dock Connector (expected to be used on the upcoming iPhone 5) show a plug with 8 visible electrical contacts on one side.

Update: In a follow-up post, Nowhereelse.fr notes the purported dock connector actually has a total of 16 pins, 8 on each side, and will be implemented across future versions of Apple's iPhone and iPad product lines. The new connector may also make its way to the iPod line, but no evidence supporting such a change has surfaced.

According to photos published by French blog Nowherelse.fr, which appears to have sourced the images from a Chinese site, the new connector appears to be about half the width of a full sized USB connector.

The new plug is also substantially thinner and appears designed to work in either direction, ending the hassle of having to orient the plug in the correct direction when attaching a cable (an issue with both USB and Apple's existing Dock Connector cables).

Apple similarly redesigned the power connectors on its MacBooks to function in either direction, while using a magnetic quick-release mechanism the company branded as "MagSafe."

Previous reports, including one by TechCrunch and a second by Reuters, claimed the upcoming new iPhone would replace the existing 30-pin connector with a smaller 19-pin port.




Apple's new Dock Connectors for iOS devices could supply unique or redundant contacts on both sides of the plug, enabling either more connections or a physically simpler, easy-to-orient connector.

Apple's 20-pin Thunderbolt port has a somewhat similar electrical contact design, but supplies 10 unique pins on each side, requiring cables to be inserted in one direction. The plug uses a keyed external plug shape however, unlike full sized USB plugs that have a simple, symmetrical rectangular shape.

Apple's original 30-pin Dock Connector, which has been in use since the third generation iPod appeared in 2003, was originally designed to supply pins for both FireWire (enabling fast sync with Macs) and USB 1.0 (providing slower sync but compatibility with PCs), as well supplying analog audio output and control signals.

The company later added support for audio input, composite and component video outputs, and later HDMI output for new iOS devices as the feature set of iPod, iPhone and iPad evolved, in some cases changing the pin-out assignments to assign new uses.

In dramatically scaling back the number of pins available on the new Dock Connector design, Apple could be relying upon AirPlay to deliver media via wireless networking.
post #2 of 109

Can't wait for Sammy to copy that with the AppleUSB port.

post #3 of 109

I can't tell from those images whether it is keyed (enabling 16 pins) or simply reversable (8 pins)

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post #4 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I can't tell from those images whether it is keyed (enabling 16 pins) or simply reversable (8 pins)

 

I thought the same. Wouldn't 16 pins keep more functionality when converting from the 30-pin connector.

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post #5 of 109
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
work in either direction… 

 

Saints be praised. Now if only Thunderbolt had been a circle… 

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post #6 of 109
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Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In dramatically scaling back the number of pins available on the new Dock Connector design, Apple could be relying upon AirPlay to deliver media via wireless networking.

 

Or, maybe serial interfaces (in this case USB 2 and/or USB 3) are fast enough now.  No need for all those extra pins for parallel data transfer.

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post #7 of 109

Wouldn't a metal housing surround the connector, grounding it, and thus making it a 9 pin connector?  

 

I'm spitballing here.

post #8 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by silverpraxis View Post

 

I thought the same. Wouldn't 16 pins keep more functionality when converting from the 30-pin connector.

Yea I don't know what the big deal is with having the plug reversible. Almost no connector has ever been reversible aside from a 1930s era lamp cord.

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post #9 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I can't tell from those images whether it is keyed (enabling 16 pins) or simply reversable (8 pins)

 

Hoping that it's orientation-independent.  And has MagSafe magnets.

 

Actually, would it be possible to detect orientation and configure the connection?

That would allow using all 16 pins.  I thought Apple submitted at least one patent related to detecting

the position and strength of magnets in a connector for determining the connector's orientation.

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post #10 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

 

Hoping that it's orientation-independent.  And has MagSafe magnets.

 

Actually, would it be possible to detect orientation and configure the connection?

That would allow using all 16 pins.  I thought Apple submitted at least one patent related to detecting

the position and strength of magnets in a connector for determining the connector's orientation.

The shape seems like it is rather a deep socket, relatively speaking, to be MagSafe compatible.

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post #11 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

 

Hoping that it's orientation-independent.  And has MagSafe magnets.

 

Actually, would it be possible to detect orientation and configure the connection?

That would allow using all 16 pins.  I thought Apple submitted at least one patent related to detecting

the position and strength of magnets in a connector for determining the connector's orientation.

 

Clearly there will be a Male connector and a Female socket - as to their "orientation" perhaps that is best left unasked. lol.gif

post #12 of 109
Originally Posted by silverpraxis View Post

I thought the same. Wouldn't 16 pins keep more functionality when converting from the 30-pin connector.


Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I can't tell from those images whether it is keyed (enabling 16 pins) or simply reversable (8 pins)

 

 
I'd go further and suggest it may be no more than a reversible USB 2.0 connection - what we see as 16 pins could be in reality eight pins, with each pin showing on both faces.
 
The 8 pins themselves could be carrying only four pairs of signals, each pair consisting of the same signal on the left hand side and right hand side, that way it doesn't matter which way the connector is plugged into the port, just like on the MagSafe.
 
I believe this is the nature of the connector, after all the current 30 pin connector leads into the 4 pins of a USB plug.
 
Those other 26 pins are either legacy ports no longer used or possibly direct audio in and out signals utilised by docks and accessories.
 
Plugin USB audio adapters can be purchased for one or two British pounds on eBay so it won't be expensive for audio dock manufacturers to incorporate the necessary circuitry into future docks, if they don't do so already.
 
 
post #13 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Yea I don't know what the big deal is with having the plug reversible. Almost no connector has ever been reversible aside from a 1930s era lamp cord.

 

Future products by Apple and 3rd party accessories most likely.

post #14 of 109

Why didn't they use MagSafe technology? That would have been awesome without having to push and pull. Just have it snap into place. If Steve were alive, that's what he would have asked the engineers to do.

 
post #15 of 109

Would a micro or mini USB been so hard?  Why do we need yet ANOTHER non standard data connector that does exactly what all the other STANDARD connectors do?
 

post #16 of 109
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post
Or, maybe serial interfaces (in this case USB 2 and/or USB 3) are fast enough now.  No need for all those extra pins for parallel data transfer.

 

They're not, though.


Originally Posted by mstone View Post
Yea I don't know what the big deal is with having the plug reversible. Almost no connector has ever been reversible aside from a 1930s era lamp cord.

 

Since you've obviously used a USB port at least once before in your life, I can't see how you can say this with a straight face.

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post #17 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Yea I don't know what the big deal is with having the plug reversible. Almost no connector has ever been reversible aside from a 1930s era lamp cord.

 

 

How about avoiding the annoyance of having to constantly flip the plug around when it won't insert, as happens with the stupid USB connector design.

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post #18 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCC View Post

Why didn't they use MagSafe technology? That would have been awesome without having to push and pull. Just have it snap into place. If Steve were alive, that's what he would have asked the engineers to do.

 

 

Magsafe is great when attached to something heavy, like a notebook.  But connected to a phone it's pointless, one trip on the cord and it's coming off the table anyway.

post #19 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanVoyeur View Post

Would a micro or mini USB been so hard?  Why do we need yet ANOTHER non standard data connector that does exactly what all the other STANDARD connectors do?
 

How is it that you're so intimately familiar with the specifications and capabilities of this new mystery connector?

post #20 of 109
This can't be the final design. Doubt this is real. Apple would never create an insertable tab connector like that. There's nothing elegant about it. Unless this is a post Steve decision. Way too easy to break off. Now perhaps if this were intended to be housed inside some kind of shell al la USB, et al ... But take a look at any Apple product, aside from standard audio connectors there is nothing like this ... This has PC written all over it ...
post #21 of 109
Originally Posted by UrbanVoyeur View Post
Would a micro or mini USB been so hard?  Why do we need yet ANOTHER non standard data connector that does exactly what all the other STANDARD connectors do?

 

Because Dock Connector 2 will do more than gimped MicroUSB ever could, probably.

 

Originally Posted by Mac_128 View Post
This can't be the final design. Doubt this is real. Apple would never create an insertable tab connector like that. There's nothing elegant about it. Unless this is a post Steve decision. Way too easy to break off. Now perhaps if this were intended to be housed inside some kind of shell al la USB, et al ... But take a look at any Apple product, aside from standard audio connectors there is nothing like this ... This has PC written all over it ...
 

"Apple would never make a phone that looks like that!" "Apple would never make a tablet without cameras!" "Apple would never discontinue the 17" MacBook Pro!" 

 

Do you think the Dock Connector is easy to break off? How does Dock Connector 2 differ from that? I think we ought to cut the doom and gloom until several months after the device is released so that all the people that don't know how to take care of their possessions can get their plug breaking in early and out of their system if the plug is actually going to be so flimsy as to break.

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post #22 of 109

As I think someone else stated, the ring around the connector is the 9th pin.  IOS6 references to 9 pins are correct.

post #23 of 109

Yes, I think it would be so hard.  Mini and micro usb is not very good for accessories that function as docks for the phone.
 

post #24 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

The shape seems like it is rather a deep socket, relatively speaking, to be MagSafe compatible.

 

Yeah, I'm surprised at how deep the thing is.  It looks either as deep, or maybe slightly deeper, than the current 30 pin.  

post #25 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

 

Clearly there will be a Male connector and a Female socket - as to their "orientation" perhaps that is best left unasked. lol.gif

 

Don't ask. Don't tell?

post #26 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post

 

Magsafe is great when attached to something heavy, like a notebook.  But connected to a phone it's pointless, one trip on the cord and it's coming off the table anyway.

 

I think the people that really want magsafe on the iPhone are those that don't really appreciate the reasons behind the magsafe in the first place.  They basically just like the feel of it and the easy way it connects.  

 

The big hint of course is that it's called "magsafe" and not "magsmooth" or "mageasy

post #27 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Do you think the Dock Connector is easy to break off? How does Dock Connector 2 differ from that?.
Seriously? The dock connector is very robust. It's a structurally engineered ridgid metal enclosure, the pins are inside. It slips pretty tightly into a port with guides to align the tab that inserts, fairly shallowly I might add, into the slot.

This has been an Intuitive design pattern all the way back to the Apple II.

Ever notice how PC connectors have the male pins on the device, the female on the cable, so when a cable is inevitably pulled out or the incorrect plug jammed into the port, the pins on the device are broken off requiring a major repair, instead of the apple way where the pins are broken on the cable side, requiring only a new cable?

They aren't going to change that philosophy. This is not about selling a product with or without cameras ...
post #28 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post
 

 

The big hint of course is that it's called "magsafe" and not "magsmooth" or "mageasy

Those are the Samsung copycat trademarks

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post #29 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Because Dock Connector 2 will do more than gimped MicroUSB ever could, probably.

 

 

 

I assume you have actual proof of this, please provide. Also what's something that this 9-pin connector will do that a micro port can't?

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post #30 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post

 

Magsafe is great when attached to something heavy, like a notebook.  But connected to a phone it's pointless, one trip on the cord and it's coming off the table anyway.

 

The next time my girlfriend grabs her iPhone and starts to run off while it's still plugged in, can I call you and have you explain how Magsafe would be pointless to her?

post #31 of 109

I am very glad they didn't use Micro USB because I HATE it. It always breaks for me no matter how careful I am with it.

post #32 of 109

The connector swivels? That seems a bit gimmicky for Apple.

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post #33 of 109
Originally Posted by Mac_128 View Post
Seriously? The dock connector is very robust.

 

Exactly! That's what I'm saying.


Ever notice how PC connectors have the male pins on the device, the female on the cable…

 

Er, no… Because that would mean PCs would have inverse plug sticking out the side of the laptop/computer… ?


Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post
I assume you have actual proof of this, please provide.

 

Apple's not going to reduce functionality from the original Dock Connector… Take away the FireWire part, sure, but not reduce any functions themselves.

 

Or this could be just for charging and they expect us to sync wirelessly. Who knows.


Originally Posted by macslut View Post
The next time my girlfriend grabs her iPhone and starts to run off while it's still plugged in, can I call you and have you explain how Magsafe would be pointless to her?

 

I'm sorry, if you have a girlfriend that doesn't understand not to walk away with something when it's still connected to something else (I'm going to be as nice as I can be about this), I think it's time to be in the market for a new model. 

So she drives away with the gas nozzle still in her car? Moves a lamp with the cord still in the wall? 

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post #34 of 109
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Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Yea I don't know what the big deal is with having the plug reversible. Almost no connector has ever been reversible aside from a 1930s era lamp cord.

Well, both the Europlug and the Schuko (but not some national variations) are reversible.

Magsafe has already been mentioned, and many coax DC power connectors used for other laptops and external devices (and pre-Magsafe Apple notebooks) are too. There's also a whole host of other ring-shaped/circular connectors (BNC, RCA, TRS etc.) that obviously are to some degree direction agnostic.

Also some IEC 60320 variations are non-polarised, and can be found on many common consumer electronics like shavers, Mac Mini and the PS3 slim.


Ethernet's problems with crossover and straight cables also come to mind. If there really are 16 contacts (8 per side), I'd imagine the port would do something similar to Auto-MDIX.
Edited by Zandros - 8/10/12 at 12:59pm
post #35 of 109

Can you say: "liquid metal" really fast 3 times? I thought you could!

post #36 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zandros View Post


Well, both the Europlug and the Schuko (but not some national variations) are reversible. Magsafe has already been mentioned. There's also a whole host of ring-shaped/circular connectors (BNC, RCA, TRS etc.) that obviously are to some degree direction agnostic.
Ethernet's problems with crossover and straight cables also come to mind. If there really is 16 contacts (8 per side), I'd imagine the port would use something similar to Auto-MDIX.

Good points. The circular plugs are usually only two elements though, aside from stereo audio jacks, but even those exhibit the problem with multi-pinned circular jack plugs. As you insert or unplug them the power for one element can touch another pin which can cause nasty problems (think unplugging a 1/4" headphone jack while powered up, ouch!).

 

The usual configuration of plugs that are not reversible is that there is some visual indication of how they are to be oriented. In the case of the 30 pin dock you have to look for the quite tiny icon and insert it with that pointing up in relation to the screen, subtle but easy enough for those not visually impaired. In the case of USB (as in the above picture) there are two visual indications that you just need to learn to look for.

 

Also thanks for the reminder about the Europlug and the Schuko although the later I believe does use an offset optional ground, but in both cases those plugs should not be considered modern or safe by any definition so they fall within my original class along with the 1930s lamp cords.


Edited by mstone - 8/10/12 at 1:13pm

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post #37 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Exactly! That's what I'm saying.

Er, no… Because that would mean PCs would have inverse plug sticking out the side of the laptop/computer… ?

Apple's not going to reduce functionality from the original Dock Connector… Take away the FireWire part, sure, but not reduce any functions themselves. 
Yes, and the current dock connector is designed per Apples 30 years of design philosophy, this new one is not ...

Are you familiar with legacy PC ports?

http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/PC+input%2Foutput

And finally ... "Apple would never ... " What!?
post #38 of 109

So one thing I wonder about:  the current dock connector provides mechanical stability via width-- fully half that of the iPhone.  Even then, I often feel a bit unsure of some dock connections, with a bit of lateral wiggle making it feel like it would be easy to knock things to one side or torque things a bit and do some damage.

 

So how secure would a much narrower dock connector be in applications like sound docks?  I would hope that either the shell of the male connector is somewhat deeper, somewhat thicker, or that dock-based accessories would feature a bit more enclosure for the device itself.  Obviously, all of these concerns become more critical when the inevitable iPad update follows suit, and I really have to wonder about the mechanics of the rumored old dock adapter-- seems like that would have to be a device wide enclosure, to avoid a really wobbly old dock to new dock ziggurat affair.

 

I would be very impressed, OTOH, if Apple actually pulled off the already discussed multiplexing scheme wherein device orientation was detected, yielding a virtual 16 pin data path that was orientation independent.  In fact, eliminating having to look for the little symbol side of the connector to get the thing plugged in the right way around seems very Apple like-- the kind of thing they'd put some effort into.

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post #39 of 109
Are there any examples of reversible port interfaces for data cables?

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post #40 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

The shape seems like it is rather a deep socket, relatively speaking, to be MagSafe compatible.

 

MagSafe doesn't make sense for a mobile device this lightweight.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCC View Post

Why didn't they use MagSafe technology? That would have been awesome without having to push and pull. Just have it snap into place. If Steve were alive, that's what he would have asked the engineers to do.

 

 

That was a good joke about "if Steve were alive." (Because we all know you weren't being serious, right? Right? Oh dear.)

 

Perhaps I can explain why MagSafe doesn't make sense for a mobile device this lightweight. As a device becomes more lightweight, only a few ounces such as the iPhone, the magnetism must be weakened so that disconnecting the cable from the device can be done without 'dragging' the device. As the magnetism is weaked, the connection, and therefore the data signaling, is weakened. Who wants to lose a connection while doing a sync/backup?

 

So if the magnetism is too strong, you risk the device being inadvertantly pulled off its resting place and disconnecting at inoppertune times (saying when it's yanked off a table), and if the magnetism is too weak, you get data loss. Let's just stick to a material connection for now.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac_128 View Post

This can't be the final design. Doubt this is real. Apple would never create an insertable tab connector like that. There's nothing elegant about it. Unless this is a post Steve decision. Way too easy to break off. Now perhaps if this were intended to be housed inside some kind of shell al la USB, et al ... But take a look at any Apple product, aside from standard audio connectors there is nothing like this ... This has PC written all over it ...

 

Huh?!

700

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

Yeah, I'm surprised at how deep the thing is.  It looks either as deep, or maybe slightly deeper, than the current 30 pin.  

 

Considering how shallow the current dock connector is, it's not surprising at all to me. If these photos are accurate, it seems like the new connector will only be half as deep as a standard USB connector. Apple would want to have as shallaw and narrow a connector as possible as to increase internal volume.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post

 

Don't ask. Don't tell?

 

Don't worry, Apple will repeal that 'law' on Sept 12. All will be told for better or worse. :)

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