New Lightning dock connector capable of hosting USB devices - report

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple's new Lightning dock connector for the iPhone 5 will reportedly allow for new types of accessories, as the updated port supports the ability to host USB devices.

According to Japanese blog Macotakara, the ability of Lightning to host USB devices will allow third-party accessory makers to create new kinds of products that were not previously possible with the legacy 30-pin connector. Apple's new iPhone 5, iPod touch and iPod nano all feature the smaller Lightning dock connector.

Previously, only the iPad had the ability to host USB devices through Apple's Camera Connection Kit. The Apple-made, accessory USB port allows users to connect devices such as cameras and wired keyboards to their iPad, but not the iPhone.

But with the switch to Lightning, Apple will reportedly offer built-in support for USB hosting. That means accessories like cameras, keyboards and other devices could potentially be connectable to the iPhone with third-party accessories.

Lightning


Apple's new Lightning cable and port are 80 percent smaller than the previous 30-pin iOS device connector that had been around for 9 years. The new cable is also orientation independent, allowing it to be plugged into a device from either side.

The new dock connector helped allow Apple to make the new iPhone 5 the thinnest smartphone on the market. Apple said Lightning ports will be quickly supported by a number of third-party accessory makers, including Bose, JBL and B&W.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    swssws Posts: 44member
    I am REALLY hoping that since the new connector is all digital, we can hook the iPhone up to our own DAC/Amps and bypass the phone's equipment.

    Not that the iPhone puts out bad sound. But for an audiophile, this may be a dream come true!!!!!!

    I am REALLY looking forward to what the accessory market brings!!!!!
  • Reply 2 of 45
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,740member
    If true, these are about to get a lot more popular: http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MD820/lightning-to-micro-usb-adapter
  • Reply 3 of 45
    iOS powered DSLR camera? I like it.
  • Reply 4 of 45
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    As usual, all the whiners who were complaining about Apple switching to a new connector for no good reason were wrong. Obviously, Apple had a reason to switch - and it offers new capabilities.
  • Reply 5 of 45
    sws wrote: »
    I am REALLY hoping that since the new connector is all digital, we can hook the iPhone up to our own DAC/Amps and bypass the phone's equipment.
    Not that the iPhone puts out bad sound. But for an audiophile, this may be a dream come true!!!!!!
    I am REALLY looking forward to what the accessory market brings!!!!!

    Off topic, but Apple both said that it's all digital and dynamic. Then we heard that an HDMI (digital) and VGA (analog) cables are coming which means that internally the port HW is more sophisticated and complex than we've already seen, unless there will be HW in the cable that will convert it.
  • Reply 6 of 45
    Ooooh, devices like a pocket HD full of our DVD's?!
  • Reply 7 of 45
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,341member
    I knew Lightning was more than just a small port. Lightning to anything adapters might be possible. But they won't be cheap. There's hardware in those adapters (micros, ICs, etc.). It's not just wires connecting to a different connector.
  • Reply 8 of 45
    ...With the appropriate app, of course. Let's go dev's!
  • Reply 9 of 45
    Lightning to USB... so I can hook a mouse up to my iPhone...?! :) :) :)
  • Reply 10 of 45
    jragosta wrote: »
    As usual, all the whiners who were complaining about Apple switching to a new connector for no good reason were wrong. Obviously, Apple had a reason to switch - and it offers new capabilities.

    It remains to be seen how useful those capabilities will be. The iPhone supports Bluetooth too, but it is so limited in terms of supported profiles that it's borderline useless. Don't expect the USB host functionality to be used for anything other than plugging cameras, something you could already do with the 30-pin connector. The only thing you can take from this article is that they didn't remove ALL the functionality (USB remains), just most of it...

    solipsismx wrote: »
    sws wrote: »
    I am REALLY hoping that since the new connector is all digital, we can hook the iPhone up to our own DAC/Amps and bypass the phone's equipment.
    Not that the iPhone puts out bad sound. But for an audiophile, this may be a dream come true!!!!!!
    I am REALLY looking forward to what the accessory market brings!!!!!

    Off topic, but Apple both said that it's all digital and dynamic. Then we heard that an HDMI (digital) and VGA (analog) cables are coming which means that internally the port HW is more sophisticated and complex than we've already seen, unless there will be HW in the cable that will convert it.

    Where did you hear that?

    65c816 wrote: »
    Lightning to USB... so I can hook a mouse up to my iPhone...?! :) :) :)

    You can't even do that through Bluetooth now; what makes you think you'd be able to do it through USB? Don't think Apple is in the mood to let you plug your own flash drives, either!
  • Reply 11 of 45
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,765member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by winstein2010 View Post



    iOS powered DSLR camera? I like it.


    Yeah I immediately thought of that.  Pro photogs are gonna lurv that feature.

  • Reply 12 of 45
    For anyone still thinking this implies any kind of new functionality that the 30-pin Dock Connector did not already support, take a look at the [URL=http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC531ZM/A/apple-ipad-camera-connection-kit]iPad Camera Connection Kit[/URL] to see what USB host functionality has been and will be used for. USB host functionality is old news.
  • Reply 13 of 45
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    vaelian wrote: »
    It remains to be seen how useful those capabilities will be. The iPhone supports Bluetooth too, but it is so limited in terms of supported profiles that it's borderline useless.

    Really? I guess the millions of people who use Bluetooth with their iPhones are imagining things.... /s
  • Reply 14 of 45
    jragosta wrote: »
    vaelian wrote: »
    It remains to be seen how useful those capabilities will be. The iPhone supports Bluetooth too, but it is so limited in terms of supported profiles that it's borderline useless.

    Really? I guess the millions of people who use Bluetooth with their iPhones are imagining things.... /s

    That's pointless without context. If you compare the things those people use Bluetooth for to the things people use Bluetooth for on all other phones, including some dumb phones, you will realize that, yes, Bluetooth on the iPhone is borderline useless as you can only use it for audio (and a keyboard on the iPad). File exchanging, Internet connectivity, SIM sharing, etc. are all unavailable features.
  • Reply 15 of 45


    Originally Posted by DeeGee48 View Post

    Ooooh, devices like a pocket HD full of our DVD's?!


     


    What's the point of that? Put them directly on the phone. Powering a spinning hard drive will kill your battery faster than it could play even half a movie.

  • Reply 16 of 45
    That means accessories like cameras, keyboards and other devices could potentially be connectable to the iPhone with third-party accessories.

    oooohhh. accessories are potentially connectable with 3rd-party accessories. very cool, neil. JHC.
  • Reply 17 of 45

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    Off topic, but Apple both said that it's all digital and dynamic. Then we heard that an HDMI (digital) and VGA (analog) cables are coming which means that internally the port HW is more sophisticated and complex than we've already seen, unless there will be HW in the cable that will convert it.


     


    An early picture of the 'Lightning' cable showed a chip in it, so yea, I'm guessing that is the case.

  • Reply 18 of 45
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Got my order in by 12:10.
    I have to admit that I think its a bit stingy of Apple to not include at least one adaptor in the box. With them being sold out, I'm apparently going to have to be carrying my one cable with me everywhere for a couple of months.
  • Reply 19 of 45

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Vaelian View Post





    That's pointless without context. If you compare the things those people use Bluetooth for to the things people use Bluetooth for on all other phones, including some dumb phones, you will realize that, yes, Bluetooth on the iPhone is borderline useless as you can only use it for audio (and a keyboard on the iPad). File exchanging, Internet connectivity, SIM sharing, etc. are all unavailable features.


    My iPhone seems to share it's internet connection with my Mac over Bluetooth.

  • Reply 20 of 45
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SWS View Post



    I am REALLY hoping that since the new connector is all digital, we can hook the iPhone up to our own DAC/Amps and bypass the phone's equipment.

    Not that the iPhone puts out bad sound. But for an audiophile, this may be a dream come true!!!!!!

    I am REALLY looking forward to what the accessory market brings!!!!!


     


    This was already possible with the old cable. I believe that the B&W Zeppelin uses its own DAC. My understanding is that it's achieved by accessing the iPhone's file system directly.

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