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A fresh round of rumours have overtaken speculation that Apple's soon-to-be released iPhone 5 will have 19 or eight pins. The latest count is...

First there were rumours that the iPhone 5 would drop the traditional 30-pin dock connector in favour of a new 19-pin design.

That was triggered by 'spy shots' of what were purportedly iPhone 5 shell components and new cases, showing a much smaller orifice than required for the existing connector.

A widely-held expectation was that the new connector would drop the obsolete and unused pins, which would leave 19 pins.

More recently, talk switched to an 8-pin arrangement.

Now there is speculation that a reference in the iOS 6 beta to a hardware feature called 9Pin is an indication that the connector will have nine pins, not eight.

And a new photo published by French site NoWhereElse [translation] shows a metal ring around the new port, which is being taken as further evidence that the iPhone 5 will use a MagSafe-style connector.

While the main idea behind MagSafe was that the connector would detach from a MacBook if someone tripped on the power cable, an iPhone is unlikely to be heavy enough to remain in place in the event of a sudden tug on the cable.

However, a magnetic connection would be more convenient as it would do away with the 'squeeze' action needed to release the mechanical catches that are part of the old 30-pin connector, at least in the form used for cables.

NoWhereElse also passed on photos appearing in the Chinese publication 'Apple Daily' showing that the iPhone 5 is 7.6mm thick, with a screen height of 90mm.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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