What Smart Connector charging could mean for the 'iPhone 7' and beyond

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 2016
Now that we know Apple will let its Smart Connector do more than just clip on a keyboard, rumors that it will make its way from the iPad Pro lineup to the iPhone make much more sense. AppleInsider takes a look at the changes that might bring.




Accessory maker Logitech let the cat out of the bag on Tuesday with the unveiling of its new Logi Base. The Logi Base is an iPad Pro charging dock that delivers power through the Smart Connector, rather than through the iPad's Lightning port.

When it was announced, the Smart Connector was touted as a way for the iPad Pro to provide low-bandwidth bidirectional data transfer and feed power to accessories.

In that context, rumors that Apple would tack a Smart Connector onto the next-gen iPhone seemed unlikely. Unlikelier still were "leaked" parts that showed a Smart Connector right next to the iPhone's Lightning port, a duplication of functionality if ever there was one.

We thought there was no way this would ever happen.

Why we might've been wrong



There's a growing cloud of smoke surrounding the possibility of an "iPhone 7" that lacks a traditional headphone jack. For Apple to pull this off without a consumer revolt, it would need to provide an easy and low-cost method to plug a pair of headphones into the Lightning port.

This means a dongle.

The dongle would almost surely have to be included in the box with the "iPhone 7," and it would have to be more than a simple passthrough -- it would need to support simultaneous charging as well. The latter requirement eliminates a simple male-to-female solution similar to the current Lightning-to-Micro USB adapter.

Instead, we'd be stuck with something closer to the MacBook's USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter -- or "giant dongle," for short.


The Smart Connector-bearing "iPhone" bears a striking resemblance to Futurama's Bender.


If there's a secondary way to charge the iPhone, however, the giant dongle requirement is lessened. Apple can sell it as an add-on accessory and the revolt might be reduced to a mere rabble.

Even more convincingly, adding a Smart Connector would allow companies like Mophie to eliminate the Lightning passthrough connectors on battery cases and wireless charging adapters. This would enable new form factors and could make them more consumer-friendly.

Imagine a battery case without the "chin" at the bottom, or a Qi adapter that quickly snaps on and off.

Why we might've been right



No matter how well-justified, putting both a Smart Connector and a Lightning port next to each other on a palm-sized device just feels wrong.

Then again, so does sticking the tail end of our Apple Pencil into an iPad to charge -- good thing they included a dongle.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    what if it was instead of lightning !
  • Reply 2 of 39
    Will be interesting to see how (or if) this connector will work with any cases with cutouts. I suspect not. But cool idea. My next iPhone may end up being caseless. 
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 3 of 39
    staticx57staticx57 Posts: 398member
    This article was a good opportunity to mention magsafe since this connector is no doubt borrowing technology first used in the magsafe connector.
  • Reply 4 of 39
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,678member
    1) I don't see how the Smart Connector makes the back of an iPhone like Bender.

    2) If Apple includes their own wired headphones that include a Lightning port, I would _also_ expect Apple to include a dongle. If, there are no headphones, then I can see the dongle being included for a couple years.

    3) When was the last time Apple included a dongle with any primary device?

    4) My interest in the Smart Connector is the ability to place and remove from a charger without having to hold the docking unit in any way. This Shiism also less for less exact placement and less force when resting and picking up, which should add to a slightly better user experience (at least for me).
    redgeminipa
  • Reply 5 of 39
    mubailimubaili Posts: 387member
    Yea, on the Apple Pencil charge, since it charges so fast, after a few weeks I charged the Pencil almost exclusively by plugging it into iPad Pro lightning port. It is such a relief that you don't need look around for a device to charge the Pencil. Well done, Apple. You have indeed thought through this one.
    williamlondonpscooter63redgeminipa
  • Reply 6 of 39
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    We don't need to imagine anything. Since mention of the possibility of a smart connector on iPhone 7 I've said this will allow for more attractive, chin-less battery cases. And I'm sure many other people have said similar. But above all, please don't make iPhone 7 any thinner, Apple. We need a great improvement to out of the box battery life particularly for those who use their phones a lot. Battery cases should be for niche uses such as a 2 camping trip or similar. iPhones should last for a full day of pretty heavy use and especially in times of crisis like travelling between airports with weak signal and Wallet boarding tickets.
    edited April 2016 Soli
  • Reply 7 of 39
    "Imagine a battery case without the "chin" at the bottom..."

    already available, I have one... search for the Kuner Kuke case. They even have a newer model with built in storage in addition to the battery.
  • Reply 8 of 39
    Soli said:
    1) I don't see how the Smart Connector makes the back of an iPhone like Bender.
    It was a joke. I grinned!
  • Reply 9 of 39
    what the new audio port through the lightning connector means is more royalties for Apple since the current audio jack is used by square trade and other credit card swipers for free without having to pay apple.
  • Reply 10 of 39
    mubaili said:
    Yea, on the Apple Pencil charge, since it charges so fast, after a few weeks I charged the Pencil almost exclusively by plugging it into iPad Pro lightning port. It is such a relief that you don't need look around for a device to charge the Pencil. Well done, Apple. You have indeed thought through this one.
    A smart connector incorporated into the side of the pencil would be ideal I think. It would charge the pencil and the magnetic nature would allow you to have a place to store the pencil on the side of the iPad at the same time.
    slprescottRayz2016
  • Reply 11 of 39
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,678member
    mubaili said:
    Yea, on the Apple Pencil charge, since it charges so fast, after a few weeks I charged the Pencil almost exclusively by plugging it into iPad Pro lightning port. It is such a relief that you don't need look around for a device to charge the Pencil. Well done, Apple. You have indeed thought through this one.
    Do you fear of losing your cap? I wonder if a spring-loaded cover that will slide down to reveal the Lightning plug would be a better overall solution.
  • Reply 12 of 39
    Soli said:
    1) I don't see how the Smart Connector makes the back of an iPhone like Bender.

    2) If Apple includes their own wired headphones that include a Lightning port, I would _also_ expect Apple to include a dongle. If, there are no headphones, then I can see the dongle being included for a couple years.

    3) When was the last time Apple included a dongle with any primary device?

    4) My interest in the Smart Connector is the ability to place and remove from a charger without having to hold the docking unit in any way. This Shiism also less for less exact placement and less force when resting and picking up, which should add to a slightly better user experience (at least for me).
    3... Apple used to include a lightning to micro-usb adapter/dongle for us Euro crazy folk. Didn't get one with my iPhone 6S however.
  • Reply 13 of 39
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    I wonder if the smart connector could double as a headphone connection?  I have said a a few times that a breakaway magsafe like headphone connector would be the ideal replacement for the 3.5mm socket.  Unfortunately there is no fourth contact for controls so it is unlikely it will be used that way.
  • Reply 14 of 39
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,399member
    What kind of "article" is this?

    The dongle would almost surely have to be included in the box with the "iPhone 7," and it would have to be more than a simple passthrough -- it would need to support simultaneous charging as well. The latter requirement eliminates a simple male-to-female solution similar to the current Lightning-to-Micro USB adapter.

    Really? Opinion is now news?

    Apple is unlikely to include an adapter, since they will likely include a pair of Lightning earbuds. Including an adapter only encourages customers to keep using their existing 3.5mm equipment, rather than a wireless option, or even a Lightning option. Buying the adapter forces them to make a conscious choice.

    This idea of being able to charge and listen to headphones at the same time is ridiculous. The solution has been around since electricity was invented, and can be found at the end of most Christmas tree light s -- a pass through port. No cumbersome dongles, just the existing plug with both a male and female connector and the wire coming out of the side.

    This "article" has no objective reporting at all, and has bias written all over it.

  • Reply 15 of 39
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    mac_128 said:
    What kind of "article" is this?

    The dongle would almost surely have to be included in the box with the "iPhone 7," and it would have to be more than a simple passthrough -- it would need to support simultaneous charging as well. The latter requirement eliminates a simple male-to-female solution similar to the current Lightning-to-Micro USB adapter.

    Really? Opinion is now news?

    Apple is unlikely to include an adapter, since they will likely include a pair of Lightning earbuds. Including an adapter only encourages customers to keep using their existing 3.5mm equipment, rather than a wireless option, or even a Lightning option. Buying the adapter forces them to make a conscious choice.

    This idea of being able to charge and listen to headphones at the same time is ridiculous. The solution has been around since electricity was invented, and can be found at the end of most Christmas tree light s -- a pass through port. No cumbersome dongles, just the existing plug with both a male and female connector and the wire coming out of the side.

    This "article" has no objective reporting at all, and has bias written all over it.

    It's a speculative piece clearly labeled as a "feature" on our front page. Just piecing together what we know about the Smart Connector and how it relates to iPhone 7 rumors. I don't see why you're so worked up over it.
    fastasleep
  • Reply 16 of 39
    Bite my shiny metal phone.
  • Reply 17 of 39
    Apple has also expressed interest in making the iPhone water resistant, Doing away with the headphone port and lightening port and replacing it with the Smart connector would help keep the iPhone sealed.

    Although the thought of them doing away with the lightening port after a few years of use is a bit strange. Why go to all the hassle of creating a new port, new standard, new connectors for handful of years to do away with it again in newer devices?

    Lightening port was introduce in the iPhone 5(or 5S) thats at most 4yrs of use and cost to develop something new and then to do away with it. We'll just have to wait and see.
    Rayz2016
  • Reply 18 of 39
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,291member
    I disagree. I don't think this smart connect from the iPad will come to the iPhone at all. Apple may ditch the headphone jack and go with inductive charging. If that means you can't use your precious headphones, we have iPhone SE for you. And oh look, Beats makes nice BT headphones.
  • Reply 19 of 39
    robjnrobjn Posts: 203member
    nitrokev said:
    what if it was instead of lightning !
    It charges too slowly!

    contrary to what this argument says I'm quite sure Apple previously said it allows "sharing" power. That implied power could go either way.

    the iPhone should have a new perfectly waterproof female MagSafe connector (as in patent descriptions). A variety of adapters can snap into it and finish flush with the phone's casing, providing Lightning, Smart, USB etc. the solution is elegant, versatile, waterproof and backwards/forwards compatible.
  • Reply 20 of 39
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,018member
    Soli said:
    1) I don't see how the Smart Connector makes the back of an iPhone like Bender.




    It is not the Smart Connector that makes it look like Bender. It is the dual camera that protrudes like his eyes. (OO)
    Solifastasleep
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