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

2456

Comments

  • Reply 21 of 107
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member

    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.



    Ah... where have I heard that argument before? Oh yeah, from the 'This is the year of Desktop Linux' folks... every year. 


    You've never had to plug in a one-way plug in the dark, have you?


     


    Design that doesn't waste my time is better.

  • Reply 22 of 107
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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?

    Dock Connector 5.

    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.

    I addressed that in a thread yesterday. I see 3 possibilities for this design.
    1. It's 9 reversible pins but the device end will only read from one side. [least complex, last costly, least future forward]
    2. It's 9 reversible pins but the cable will negotiate how it's connected once it gets power. [somewhat complex, more expensive per cable design]
    3. It's 17 reversible pins but the device will negotiate orientation of pins (perhaps by having two pins for DC power that are opposite each other so the negotiation is simple). [most complex, most future forward, more expensive in the device]

    That said, the additional cost and complexity for the 3rd option doesn't seem that high considering the longterm benefits.
  • Reply 23 of 107
    akf2000akf2000 Posts: 223member


    what about transfer rates? it's mentioned once in the article, how will it be improved by this?

  • Reply 24 of 107
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    akf2000 wrote: »
    what about transfer rates? it's mentioned once in the article, how will it be improved by this?

    It could be USB 3.0. The device could allow for talking back to a TB equipped machine so if you bought the right cable you could use that medium, although still likely with the USB protocol. That said, none of that guarantees a faster rate because there are other bottlenecks. Specially the NAND which is barely pushing over 20MBps in the current iDevices.
  • Reply 25 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.



    When 'Society' expands from 'white techie guys who can read/speak english' to '6.5B people from 18months to 85years old, the majority haven't completed grade school, let alone have a EE degree'  then a 'universal, self aligning connector with minimal attachment force'  is necessary.


     


    Or, another target market:  People with Arthritis.  


     


    My 80yo mother can't open a pill bottle and can't see her sewing anymore (does it by touch), but she writes 3 letters to the editor a day on her iMacG5.   She can use a 'dock' for an iPad or an iPhone, but heaven help her if she had to see which way the logo was on 30pin connector, let alone pinch to release it.   And she's too old to 'read instructions' (she either knows it already, 'I get that' intuitive, or way too complicated to bother).

  • Reply 26 of 107

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post


    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.



    Additionally Apple who does a lot of research to improve the usability of it's devices for handicapped people, should have found solutions like that a long time ago. Could be as simple as a relief icon on the top side of unidirectional plugs. I am sure even for people with perfect eyesight, such an improvement would be most welcome.

  • Reply 27 of 107
    doggonedoggone Posts: 181member


    I think Booga hit the nail on the head.  Look at the new USB port in a new Mac with USB3 and there are 5 connectors.  Apple's new connector has 9 pins which will equate to 5 usable pins since the orientation can be flipped.  As USB is now the default port for connecting iOS devices to Macs and PCs, maybe Apple have decided to simply go with that but in their own special way.


     


    The idea of a mag safe connector sounds good to me.  One concern is that when connecting to units like iHomes etc the connector acts as a support.  I doubt that the new design can act in the same way so makers of such equipment will need to come up with better inserts.


     


    The advent of the wireless sync also means that losing connectivity when the connector is accidently pulled out will not interfere with backup.  This is a good example how Apple take one approach (wireless sync) to enable other developments.

  • Reply 28 of 107


    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    Specially the NAND which is barely pushing over 20MBps in the current iDevices.


     


    What about that faster Samsung NAND? And why the heck has Apple deigned to keep such slow NAND in their devices?!

  • Reply 29 of 107

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    I addressed that in a thread yesterday. I see 3 possibilities for this design.


    1. It's 9 reversible pins but the device end will only read from one side. [least complex, last costly, least future forward]


    2. It's 9 reversible pins but the cable will negotiate how it's connected once it gets power. [somewhat complex, more expensive per cable design]


    3. It's 17 reversible pins but the device will negotiate orientation of pins (perhaps by having two pins for DC power that are opposite each other so the negotiation is simple). [most complex, most future forward, more expensive in the device]

    That said, the additional cost and complexity for the 3rd option doesn't seem that high considering the longterm benefits.


    I wonder if there are long-term reliability concerns with making the 8 pins on each side independent in such a thin area? In such a case, I guess, option 2 with 8 solid blocks of pins assemble from either side of the connector would be the most robust.

  • Reply 30 of 107
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    lvidal wrote: »
    Why not a magnetic port, just like the magsafe? :/

    Also, why not a mini thunderbolt?

    As far as I'm aware, Thunderbolt requires an Intel chipset. The iPhone uses ARM SoC's. They are not currently compatible with Thunderbolt.

    It's a similar reason why Apple is only just now supporting USB3; they were waiting for Ivy Bridge, which is compatible as opposed to older Intel chipsets.

    You can't always just "plug" something in.
  • Reply 31 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.



     


    That's a fairly stupid remark on your part. This isn't about people not knowing how to plug, this is about convenience. It's always a hassle to turn the cable the right way, not to mention the icon on the front side fades away after some use.

  • Reply 32 of 107
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    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.

    [SIZE=72px]????[/SIZE]

    How about 'The Artist formerly known as Dock Connector 1'?

    I tell you what, if Tim's doubling down on secrecy this year, he appears to be doing a bloody awful job so far. I can't wait to see what 'actually' comes out in four weeks time...
  • Reply 33 of 107
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    Dock Connector 5.
    I addressed that in a thread yesterday. I see 3 possibilities for this design.
    1. It's 9 reversible pins but the device end will only read from one side. [least complex, last costly, least future forward]
    2. It's 9 reversible pins but the cable will negotiate how it's connected once it gets power. [somewhat complex, more expensive per cable design]
    3. It's 17 reversible pins but the device will negotiate orientation of pins (perhaps by having two pins for DC power that are opposite each other so the negotiation is simple). [most complex, most future forward, more expensive in the device]
    That said, the additional cost and complexity for the 3rd option doesn't seem that high considering the longterm benefits.

    I've been thinking the same things myself. There are a bunch of pins on the old connector that do nothing. Getting rid of some of them wouldn't limit functionality, except for giving Apple extra pins for other uses in the future.

    What I'm concerned about is that they limited the functionality to the point that devices that connect now won't be usable in the future. I have a device that connects microphones, and acts as a headphone am as well. This is used with a very good app called Audio Tools. It would be a shame if this would no longer be usable on newer Apple devices.
  • Reply 34 of 107
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post


    I wonder if there are long-term reliability concerns with making the 8 pins on each side independent in such a thin area? In such a case, I guess, option 2 with 8 solid blocks of pins assemble from either side of the connector would be the most robust.



     


    It looks to me from the pictures that they aren't independent so much as actually the same contacts.  


     


    There appears to be a picture of each side above and (just a guess mind you) it seems like the metal tab is hollow, filled with a ceramic core, and that the wires go down the centre of that core.  The little window at the top on either side would contain contacts that go to the same wires.  If that's correct, then there is no way it can be anything but 9 contacts. 

  • Reply 35 of 107

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    What about that faster Samsung NAND? And why the heck has Apple deigned to keep such slow NAND in their devices?!



    Most likely cost and the volumes Apple needs.


     


    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5258/apple-acquires-anobit-bringing-nand-endurance-technology-inhouse


     


    Not only is the NAND slow, it's also less reliable than SSD NAND. One of the reasons Apple is thought to have bought Anobit is that they have technology to increase the endurance of cheap NAND through controller logic.

  • Reply 36 of 107


    I'm leaning towards a thunderbolt connection but I guess we'll see september.

  • Reply 37 of 107
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    maestro64 wrote: »
    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.

    I must be an idiot then, as every time I go to plug in an orientation-dependent plug like a USB cable, my first attempt is always the wrong orientation.

    A better question is, perhaps, this: who is the bigger idiot? I'd reckon it's the company that manufactures an orientation-dependent design wrapped in a shell that's - for all intents and purposes - symmetrical at first glance, and relies on a small logo on one side to alert the user to the correct orientation, a logo which is easy to miss with poor eyesight, poor lighting, or if you're just in a hurry.
  • Reply 38 of 107
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    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.



     


    But it's true that people are do have a lot of problems in regards things like this, and the proof is the USB plug.


     


    I see people complaining about orienting the standard USB plug all the time, even seriously technical people far above my level.  You don't have to be stupid to be frustrated with that sort of thing.  


     


    Case in point ... There is actually a set of rules to the USB plug that you can apply so you *never* get it the wrong way around.  They are simple rules, they are published as part of the standard, and at least in the Apple side of things, they are rigidly followed for the most part by the manufacturers of USB devices and cables.  


     


    Guess what? No one knows them!


     


    People just jam it in, and if it doesn't fit, they try the other way.  That's what people are like.  I've tried explaining the rules to people several times and no one really wants to hear it or take it to heart.  Granted they fail sometimes on Windows gear, especially on cheaply manufactured Chinese goods where they completely ignore the rules, but that goes for a lot of things. 

  • Reply 39 of 107
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    doggone wrote: »
    I think Booga hit the nail on the head.  Look at the new USB port in a new Mac with USB3 and there are 5 connectors.  Apple's new connector has 9 pins which will equate to 5 usable pins since the orientation can be flipped.  As USB is now the default port for connecting iOS devices to Macs and PCs, maybe Apple have decided to simply go with that but in their own special way.

    The idea of a mag safe connector sounds good to me.  One concern is that when connecting to units like iHomes etc the connector acts as a support.  I doubt that the new design can act in the same way so makers of such equipment will need to come up with better inserts.

    The advent of the wireless sync also means that losing connectivity when the connector is accidently pulled out will not interfere with backup.  This is a good example how Apple take one approach (wireless sync) to enable other developments.

    Your assumption isn't correct. If there are 8 pins on a side, and the connector gets flipped around when inserted, then 8 pins are available in the same configuration. So if the number 1 pin is on the right of the connector side A, when flipped, it remains on the same end of the connector. Think about turning the device around.

    So there are still 8 usable different connections, plus the one on the shell, which is likely a ground.
  • Reply 40 of 107

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    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.

     


     


    Others of which are what? orientation independence and smaller size are the only two I see. 2 pros. here are 2 cons. It's not a standard plug, so i can't use any micro usb cord i have hanging around (dozens of these things) and it seems to have lost a few pins in the process, which i dont know if that impacts this thing negatively or not functionality wise for accessory makers. Can't imagine it does since they likely have to start over anyway for this new adapter. 

Sign In or Register to comment.