New iPhone 5 dock: What happens to all your accessories?
Last week’s announcement of the iPhone 5 got Apple fans salivating – so much so that pre-orders promptly sold out. But there was some sour with the sweet: Apple’s new, smaller Lightning connector for the new iPhone 5 is a major shift away from the large, instantly recognisable 30-pin connector it’s used on iPods and iPhones alike for the best part of a decade. And that could be a problem for all of your iAccessories.
Just what did Apple change?
If you ever thought Apple’s 30-pin connector was rather unwieldy compared to a skimpy little micro USB charger, you weren’t alone. That inch wide slot was actually stopping the company from shrinking the iPhone down any further.
It was also carrying a lot of dead weight: all 30 pins have different functions, and some of those are more than pointless today (Two alone for powering FireWire connections you can’t even find on some new Macs). With the new LIghtning connector, Apple shrunk it down to a much more dainty 19-pins, but it still does all the essential things like data in, data out – and unlike micro USB, audio out as well for all your music accessories.
So what’s the problem?
Apple’s 30-pin dock let it control and create a whole eco system of gadgets that worked with the iPhone and iPod, from chargers to alarm clocks and high end speaker docks. It’s a serious selling point of iOS and the iPhone in general, but sadly, the move does mean that you can’t pop your iPhone 5, new iPod touch or new iPad nano into all those gadgets you’ve already bought – and it that includes a pricey £500 B&W Zeppelin speaker, that’s obviously going to leave some people feeling miffed.
What’s Apple’s solution?
Apple had to draw a line in the sand to keep up with thinner and thinner phones from rivals like Samsung, and make the jump to a smaller connector, but it’s still provided a workaround for every upgrader with older accessories. From October, you’ll be able to buy a Lightning to 30-pin adapter, a little widget about the size of two 30-pin connectors back to back, to pop into your docks. Sadly, it doesn’t let you output video any more (just audio) and it costs a rather eye watering £25.
That’s a lot. Isn’t there anyway around it?
Not yet, but we’d expect that to change soon. Non-brand vendors will likely fall over themselves to make unofficial adapters that do the exact same thing for much less – keep your eyes peeled on Amazon for white label alternatives.
Apple’s actually spent the last couple of years bracing for the impact of a whole new connector on the iPhone 5 – by removing the need for a cable at all. If you’ve got any of a slew of recent AirPlay speaker docks, the move to Lightning shouldn’t affect you at all – since you send music over the air on your home network, you don’t need a new adapter anyway. Problem solved!
Got a lot of iPhone accessories you’ll be leaving behind with the iPhone 5? Are you annoyed, or was it time to move on? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below.