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Apple job listings hint at plans for new iPod connector design

A pair of newly-listed job postings on Apple's "Jobs at Apple" webpage point to a possible redesign of the current 30-pin dock connector used by the company's portable devices since the third generation iPod was released in 2003.

The descriptions of the two identical listings, uncovered by Tech Cruch, are titled "Connector Design Engineer" and "Product Design Eng - Connector" with both looking for a lead engineer who will be in charge of managing "multiple connector designs and developments" for the iPod.

From the listings:
The Connector Design Engineer will be responsible for managing multiple connector designs and developments in support of the iPod product lines. Cross-functional development and consulting will be a major part of your daily work. As a Lead Engineer you be responsible for identifying appropriate connection technology requirements for new products and follow through with selection and development of suitable interconnect products. This will often involve adaptation of existing connectors or complete new designs. Interfacing with connector suppliers to direct and implement the necessary design changes or creation of completely new designs will also be a major part of your daily work.

Apple is asking for the usual engineering pedigree, complete with experience in tooling and off shore manufacturing and product development.

The Cupertino, Calif., company has long been rumored to be looking into replacing the long-lived iDevice connector, with the most recent reports noting that a change could provide for much-needed space in a next-generation iPhone.

Parts purported to be from Apple's upcoming handset show a significantly smaller dock connector hole at the base of the phone alongside a relocated headphone jack. If the photos are truly of the next-gen iPhone, Wednesday's advertised job openings could be for a project specifically tailored to the iPod line. This could mean that the venerable music player will one day sport an entirely different connector than those seen on iPhones and iPads, a notable change to the "one-size-fits-all" 30-pin component.