Home Your Tech Mobility New iPhone 5 dock connector patent granted, Apple criticised

Critics of Apple’s new dock connector say all your existing accessories are now worthless, but aside from expected dock connector adapters, it’ll mean a bonanza of new sales for accessory makers and a market Android phones can only dream about.

"Bad Apple", say the critics, "you’re going to 'force' squillions of people to ditch or 'bin' their existing accessories" – but what an unmitigated load of codswollop!

The news has burst forth onto the scene following “leaks” over the past few months that a new dock connector was coming, which has now been confirmed by a new US Patent Office patent announcement, which you can see here.

The thing is, to even be affected by the new dock connector, you have to actually BUY a new iPhone 5 or new iPod Touch 5 first, and then nothing stops those accessories working with your existing iPhones, iPods and iPads.

And, if you don’t buy a new iPhone 5 but do want accessories for your older iDevices, guess what! They’ll all suddenly be on sale and much cheaper, proving the old “swings and roundabouts” saying is very, very true.

There’ll undoubtedly be 19-pin to 30-pin dock connector adapters, too, even if they’re unlicensed and official – and what is Apple supposed to do, keep the current 30-pin dock connector forever?

The shameful and shameless attacks on Apple for innovating are typically disgusting, traffic seeking affairs, and ignore the fact that Apple makes all manner of changes to its devices each year. So do games console makers, car makers, razor blade makers - it's nothing new, and the scare campaigns are typical Apple bashing BS.

Who, after all, complains that they need to buy a new case for their phone? Or a new screen protector? Or additional USB power cables? I’m sure people complain, but this is a fact of life.

Consider that Apple has used its 30-pin dock connector for years now, years longer than the pathetic few MONTHS that the Nokia Lumia series of smartphones have been on sale, phones which will NEVER get a Windows 8 upgrade – while iDevices can regularly updated to at least 3 or more iOS generations.

Now, when you look at Apple’s patented plug, numbered 8222773, it does look like a Firewire 400 port (as MacWorld notes) to deliver both power and data, but a patent picture is no guarantee of what the final dock connector will look like.

What I’d like to know is whether Apple’s new dock connector will allow charging with microUSB cables – to fulfil a supposed EU obligation dating back to 2009 – while still requiring an Apple cable for both power and data transfer – or whether Apple is still going to ignore the microUSB charging requirement.

Apple’s patent states its new socket and connector is “A power adapter for a peripheral device such as portable electronics device is disclosed. The power adapter includes a housing that contains electrical components associated with the power adapter. The power adapter also includes a data port provided at a surface of the housing. The data port is configured to provide external power to the peripheral device.

It would be desirable to remove the total number of connections made to a peripheral device so as to reduce the number of connectors and cables needed to operate the peripheral device. By reducing the number of connectors and cables, the peripheral size and the cost of the product may be decreased as well as the ease of use of the peripheral device may be improved”.

So… it looks like all the rumours of a new, smaller dock connector, likely at 19-pins, for the iPhone 5 is real, and that there’ll be a connector too.

No, it’s not the end of the world, and while you will have to buy new accessories (or an adapter) should you purchase a new iPhone 5, welcome to the real world, where such things happen!

Indeed, it’s a world where such things reignite the Apple accessory market, and where such things make Android OEMs weep at the comparatively tiny market for Android accessories compared to the unending cornucopia of accessories of every type for every iDevice out there.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.


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