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Thursday, February 23, 2012, 08:13 pm PT (11:13 pm ET)

Rumor: Apple ready to retire iDevice dock connector

An unsubstantiated rumor claims that Apple is looking to replace the venerable 30-pin iPhone, iPad and iPod dock connector with a smaller, space-saving successor that will possibly make a debut in the company's next generation iPhone.

Apple blog iMore has "heard" from unnamed sources that the iPhone maker is getting ready to switch out the dock connector currently found on all iDevice products with a smaller comparable component in order to make space in the company's ever-shrinking devices.

The site claims that the main reason behind the supposed change is to save space in a next generation iPhone for components that are more important than a dock connector, however this is only a guess as no timeline was given as to when the change will occur.

By moving to a smaller form factor, Apple can use advanced electronics like 4G LTE radio chipsets without making a bulky product. For example, the original iPad used a micro SIM card instead of the more prevalent mini SIM when it was first introduced in 2010, and the technology found its way to the iPhone 4 to make space for a larger battery. The frugality went further as the internal antenna was displaced to the handset's edge, a design that caused the so-called "antenna-gate" fiasco.

Another factor is the connector's role in data transfer. With the advent of iCloud, AirPlay and the energy-sipping Bluetooth 4.0, a future iPhone may only need a cable for charging purposes.

It is unclear what would become of the huge ecosystem of existing "Made for iDevice" products, which is a lucrative business for both Apple and third-party companies, as it would be made obsolete by a redesigned connector.

Dock connector

Illustration of space taken by current dock connector in an iPhone. | Source: iMore


No further information was given, and it is important to reiterate that the aforementioned specifics were based on guesswork.