Apple's new mini Dock Connector to feature 9-pin, orientation independent design - sources

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A mini Dock Connector expected to make its debut on Apple's new iPhone next month sports 9 official points of contact and takes design cues from the company's patented and 'idiot proof' MagSafe adapters, AppleInsider has learned.

The introduction of the new connector alongside Apple's so-called iPhone 5 next month is expected to jumpstart a transition to retire the legacy 30-pin connector that has been a staple of the company's handheld devices since making its debut on the third-generation iPod classic nearly 10 years ago.

In addition to comprising roughly 60% less real estate, the new mini Dock Connector will deliver enhancements in I/O connectivity and transfer rates with just a fraction of the number of electrical contacts as its predecessor, according to people familiar with the matter.

They say the 8 gold contacts seen on one side of the male plug in recently leaked photos of the connector are simply repeated on the flip side. They're reportedly joined by the surrounding aluminum-colored metal shell of the connector, which will similarly serve as a functional contact, bringing the total number of pins to 9.

The new connector will also deliver a number of welcomed enhancements for consumers, according to people familiar with the design, one of which will be its orientation independence when plugged into any one of Apple's future iOS devices.

"The beauty of this connector is that it no longer matters which side is up when you insert it into the phone," one of those people explained. "It's like MagSafe on the [MacBook] - every orientation is the correct one."

The number of functional pins Apple planned to deploy with the new mini Dock connector has been a topic of debate ever since hollow enclosures believed to represent the next iPhone began surfacing with a Dock Connector recesses sized at approximately one-third that of the legacy 30-pin Connector.

Though reports have included claims of 8, 16, and even 19 functional pins in the new connector, the latest explanation is believed to be supported by specific references to a new "9pin" connector recently discovered in the beta code for the upcoming iOS 6.0 release that will ship on the new iPhone.





Like the orientation independent T-shaped MagSafe 2 adapter that Apple introduced in June to replace the first-generation L-shaped adapters, the company's new Dock Connector will help facilitate slimmer, more compact handheld designs that consumers can quickly plug in and charge without the hassle of having to orient the plug in the correct direction when attaching a cable.

MagSafe 2
Apple's new orientation independant MagSafe 2 connector.


MagSafe 2


Due to the abundance of accessories on the market compatible with the current 30-pin design, Apple is expected to provide an adapter to help ease the transition to the smaller design.

The Cupertino-based company is expected to take the wraps off its latest iPhone and provide official specifications of its new 9-pin Dock Connector at a media event in California on September 12th.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 107
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    I can't remember if anyone else picked it up, but I've been calling this one Dock Connector 2 already. Anyone think that's a valid name?


     


    Don't dare start on that "the new Dock Connector" crap.


     


    ????

  • Reply 2 of 107
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,274member


    Just what society needs another idiot proof connector, are people that stupid they do not know how to plug something in, I know people still have problem plug in two prong power cords into the wall with on prong bigger, they have not figure out how to rotate it 180 degrees.

  • Reply 3 of 107
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    If the pins are repeated on the other side why are we calling it a 9-pin design and not a 17-pins. Would you look at the MagSafe at call that a 3-pin design or a 5-pin design? I think most would count 5 but realize there is only positive, negative and ground to contend with. It's 9 functional pins at any given time but there are 17 pins unless the 8 connectors are one solid unit and electronics negotiate the order of the pins when connected.
  • Reply 4 of 107
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,562member
    Is that an active connector like Thunderbolt, or just some chokes?
  • Reply 5 of 107

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post







    Like the orientation independent T-shaped MagSafe 2 adapter that Apple introduced in June to replace the first-generation L-shaped adapters, the company's new Dock Connector will help facilitate slimmer, more compact handheld designs that consumers can quickly plug in and charge without the hassle of having to orient the plug in the correct direction when attaching a cable.


    I think you will find the the L shaped MagSafe adapters are actually 2nd Gen, as the first MagSafe adapters were also Tshaped. Therefore, Magsafe2 is actually the 3rd generation of MagSafe.

  • Reply 6 of 107


    Actually, the L shaped Magsafe adapters are 2nd Gen. The first generation of MagSafe were also T Shaped, making MagSafe2 the third generation MagSafe.

  • Reply 7 of 107

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post


    Just what society needs another idiot proof connector, are people that stupid they do not know how to plug something in, I know people still have problem plug in two prong power cords into the wall with on prong bigger, they have not figure out how to rotate it 180 degrees.



    It's all about speed and simplicity. And to be honest having poor eyesight may also hinder to plug the iDevice connector correctly at the first attempt. So if I have to plugin my iPhone I usually have to put on my glasses first.


     


    For my part I appreciate the double sided connector.

  • Reply 8 of 107

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Due to the abundance of accessories on the market compatible with the current 30-pin design, Apple is expected to provide an adapter to help ease the transition to the smaller design.

    The Cupertino-based company is expected to take the wraps off its latest iPhone and provide official specifications of its new 9-pin Dock Connector at a media event in California on September 12th.


    I think a point of interest is also that the 30 pin connector also support analog in/out sound as well as support for the mic and its controls. That is all now on the bottom facilitating 4 more connections when put in accessories which would really allow for a comparison of 13 connects (9 + 4) compared to the 30pin which we already knew was losing its FireWire connectivity. The differential in functionality is not as big as it may seem (especially when one includes AirPlay/iCloud). As far as the depth of the connector goes it think that is absolutely necessary for structural stability and to maintain the friction connection (magnets are just not an option in this for maintaining a connection -- possibly if it were 2 sided and a mag was used to indicate orientation but that does not look to be the case).


     


    Just my thoughts -- feel free to shred them all as I am sure some will.


     


    Cheers.

  • Reply 9 of 107
    cvaldes1831cvaldes1831 Posts: 1,832member
    I can't remember if anyone else picked it up, but I've been calling this one Dock Connector 2 already. Anyone think that's a valid name?

    Don't dare start on that "the new Dock Connector" crap.
    How about "Dock Connector (Late 2012)"?

    Besides, this would be the third connector (there was one other design previous to the current connector).

    Oh wait, there was the dock connector with the larger plug, with the clips. So the current connector is the "Dock Connector 2S." Would they name the next one "Dock Connector 3" or skip to 4?

    Let's discuss this in detail, since obviously this is critically important, just like the name of the next iPhone. I mean super-duper important.

    ;-)
  • Reply 10 of 107

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    If the pins are repeated on the other side why are we calling it a 9-pin design and not a 17-pins. Would you look at the MagSafe at call that a 3-pin design or a 5-pin design? I think most would count 5 but realize there is only positive, negative and ground to contend with. It's 9 functional pins at any given time but there are 17 pins unless the 8 connectors are one solid unit and electronics negotiate the order of the pins when connected.


    Personally, I don't see why the 17-pins couldn't all be independent, ie. the 8 on top and the 8 on bottom can all be used together at any one time. As you say the connector is symmetrical to the user, but the device automatically negotiates the order of the pins flipping pins 1-8 and 9-16 as needed.

  • Reply 11 of 107
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member


    That link that is broken in the article is on 9to5mac.


     


    Now what we need is a close up on the pins inside the device because if it is only one side or the other that is contacting then they probably only have pins on one side of the female side not both. Not necessarily of course but if they are on both sides it would leave more questions than answers.

  • Reply 12 of 107
    boogabooga Posts: 1,075member
    USB3 is a 9-pin standard...
  • Reply 13 of 107

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

    Let's discuss this in detail, since obviously this is critically important, just like the name of the next iPhone. I mean super-duper important.

    ;-)


     


    I agree -- hardly anything else worthy of this kind of speculation. Look how bad most missed Air Book, and even iPad. So many screamed "say its not so -- Apple would never name them that". How about the iPlug or the iMate or the IShoveIt. ;-)

  • Reply 14 of 107
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,716member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    "The beauty of this connector is that it no longer matters which side is up when you insert it into the phone," one of those people explained. "It's like MagSafe on the [MacBook] - every orientation is the correct one."




     


    As much as I'm on the record against moving away from the 30-pin connect to a new connector that isn't already a standard, at least having the new connector be orientation-neutral is a good design feature.

  • Reply 15 of 107
    sipsip Posts: 210member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post


    Just what society needs another idiot proof connector, are people that stupid they do not know how to plug something in, I know people still have problem plug in two prong power cords into the wall with on prong bigger, they have not figure out how to rotate it 180 degrees.



    It's to stop Samsung from copying the plug...

  • Reply 16 of 107
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

    Just what society needs another idiot proof connector, are people that stupid they do not know how to plug something in, I know people still have problem plug in two prong power cords into the wall with on prong bigger, they have not figure out how to rotate it 180 degrees.


     


    Yeah, making people's lives easier is certainly a complete waste of time. We should absolutely be forced to have plugs that require us to waste our time figuring out how they go in… 


     



    Originally Posted by journeyman79 View Post

    Actually, the L shaped Magsafe adapters are 2nd Gen. The first generation of MagSafe were also T Shaped, making MagSafe2 the third generation MagSafe.


     


    It's the second generation, as both of the original orientations are the exact same plug and both cables can be used with any of the ports available.


     



    Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

    How about "Dock Connector (Late 2012)"?


    ????




    Originally Posted by sip View Post

    It's to stop Samsung from copying the plug...



     


    What in the world makes you think they won't be doing that? 


     


    image

  • Reply 17 of 107
    lvidallvidal Posts: 158member


    Why not a magnetic port, just like the magsafe? :/


     


    Also, why not a mini thunderbolt?

  • Reply 18 of 107
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,618member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rabbit_Coach View Post


    It's all about speed and simplicity. And to be honest having poor eyesight may also hinder to plug the iDevice connector correctly at the first attempt. So if I have to plugin my iPhone I usually have to put on my glasses first.


     


    For my part I appreciate the double sided connector.



    Agreed.  It would be nice if apple were to print the orientation symbol on the current connector in a higher contrast color than the nearly invisible grey used now.  I can see it, but if the lighting is dim it is difficult to make out.  In fact this is an issue on my consumer electronics.  My Oppo BluRay player has black text on black buttons on black faceplate.  Can't see the eject button when you need it.


     


    I appreciate designers abhorrence of the visual clutter labels and text inflict on their designs, but real life intervenes sometimes with more practical needs.  So, I will accept the idiot proof connector gladly.

  • Reply 19 of 107


    SAMSUNG, ...and Industry at Large.


     


    GET ON THAT ALREADY!!!   ......HURRY the !@#$ UP and "design" one !!


     


    Then Make it, and put a SAMSUNG label on it. !!!!!!

     

  • Reply 20 of 107
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by lvidal View Post

    Why not a magnetic port, just like the magsafe? :/


     


    Terrible idea; we've been over that.






    Also, why not a mini thunderbolt?



     


    Who says it isn't?

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