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Saturday, September 08, 2012, 05:48 am PT (08:48 am ET)

Apple's alleged 9-pin dock connector may be same size as Micro USB

New images released on Saturday compare what appear to be a Micro-A USB cable with the smaller 9-pin dock connector Apple is rumored to be deploying with the sixth-generation iPhone, showing the two components share almost identical dimensions.

The side-by-side comparison shots from French blog nowhereelse.fr were furnished by the same tipster who reportedly sent in some of the first images of Apple's alleged smaller dock connector in August.

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Source: nowhereelse.fr


Oddly, Saturday's photos show advertising paraphernalia from Chinese electronics firm MEIZU, however the source said not to "pay attention to [that] detail," adding the alleged part in question is in fact a legitimate Apple product. While AppleInsider can't verify the validity of the source's claims, the connector looks to be identical to those pictured in previous reports.

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As seen in the images, the purported 9-pin format is nearly identical in size to the Micro USB plug, though Apple's rumored part appears to be slightly longer and thinner.

As with most USB connectors, the Micro-A type features a housing in which contact pins are aligned in a linear manner, thus requiring an opening into which the tongue of a female receptacle can interface. Apple's current 30-pin connector is built on the same principle, however the company's new, smaller unit eschews that design for a more robust male/female system.

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According to sources, the supposed new plug will feature a layout with eight pins exposed on either side of a metal shell which serves as a ninth contact, thus allowing for orientation-independent use. With the new design, users will no longer have to make sure that the connector is right side up when inserting it into an iDevice.

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Apple is widely expected to unveil the sixth-generation iPhone next week after the company sent out invitations for a Sept. 12 special event.