iPhone 5 Rumors: Connector to Make Accessories Obsolete

A new connector featured in iPhone 5 is likely to annoy its users by rendering current accessories potentially obsolete, two sources confirmed.

Apple’s next generation device is expected to go on sale this fall and rumors over its design are resurfacing. Photo: denieseclariz/Flickr

The iPhone 5 is reported to come with a 19-pin connector port at the bottom replacing the proprietary 30-pin port “to make room for the earphone moving to the bottom”, two sources revealed.

The rumors mean that the anticipated device would not be connected with such accessories as speakers and power chargers that form part of the ecosystem without an adaptor.

The move would annoy iPhone 5 owners, but accessories manufacturers are preparing for a sales boom, analysts say.

“It represents an opportunity for accessory vendors,” said Pete Cunningham, London-based analyst at technology research firm Canalys.

“The iPhone connector has been a standard for a long time now and I would expect the same to be true for a new connector, should Apple change it as expected.”

Some specialists has recently speculated on the demise of the 30-pin connector, which at 21 mm wide takes up a chunk of space, especially as the latest technologies, reports Reuters.

They suggest that a smaller connector would give the Cupertino-based company more scope for new designs or a bigger battery, or simply to make ever smaller products.

According to reports, certain Chinese enterprising vendors have already begun offering cases for the upcoming device, complete with earphone socket on the bottom and a “guarantee” the dimensions are correct.

“iPod docking speaker sales have been declining for one or two years,” said an employee of a Hong Kong-based company that designs speakers especially for Apple products.

“My previous factory is a lucky one. They shifted the focus to Bluetooth speakers, which proved a wise decision now,” the employee added. “It looks like while iPod speaker sales are going down, Bluetooth speaker sales are going up.”

However, industry watchers predict that the iPhone maker will offer a solution for those who have invested heavily in expensive speaker docks or other more expensive iPhone accessories.

“Apple needs to find a solution not to disappoint their current clients who want to upgrade to the new iPhone but are tied to an expensive accessory that have bought,” said Franciso Jeronimo, an analyst at technology research firm IDC.

“I believe Apple will come up with some sort of adaptor so the new iPhone can be used with previous connectors,” Jeronimo concluded.

A salesman at an Apple reseller in Hong Kong suggested that a smaller connector would be a “pain”, and would “spoil the clean lines and seamless connectivity that is Apple’s trademark”.

“There are ways around it as some of the speakers have an audio input point that can be connected directly to any iPhone with a earphone jack. It’s not a very elegant way of doing things, but it’s an alternative,” he said.

ABI Research counted that the overall smartphone accessories market is worth $20bn for 2012, with the iPhone thought to account for the lion’s share.

“I don’t think it will stop Apple consumers from buying the new gadgets,” said C.K. Lu, Taipei-based analyst at research firm Gartner.

“Many companies are interested in developing accessories for Apple because Apple users are more open and willing to buy accessories,” he added.

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