Apple users, start saying your farewells to your current iPhone, iPad, and iPod docks and their connectors, as they will soon be rendered obsolete. The 30-pin proprietary dock connector found on current iOS devices is on its way out and will be replaced by a newer, smaller component. The reason? Why, to make more room in the iPhone 5 for crucial components like a 4G radio and bigger batteries, of course.
But this isn’t the first time that Apple has introduced a hardware redesign in the name of creating more physical space inside their products. In the iPhone 4, its Retina display, HSPA radio, Wi-Fi radio, and larger camera sensor all threatened to torpedo its battery life. So in order to hit its goal of a 10 hour battery life, Apple switched the phone’s SIM card to the relatively uncommon micro SIM (from mini SIM) and placed the antenna around the outer edge of the phone, a feature that Apple actually pointed out during its unveiling of the device. With the extra space, Apple was able to implement a larger battery into the iPhone.
So now the traditional dock connector that’s found in all of your Apple products is getting the boot. iMore.com, which revealed the impending switch, pointed out that the significance of the dock connector is not nearly as great now, given the existence of iCloud, Wi-Fi syncing, wireless peripherals, and wireless video and screen mirroring via Apple TV. These are all relatively recent developments, and prior to their introduction, the dock connector handled almost all of that work. But not anymore, so this may be the best time for Apple to make the switch so it can update its iPhone with a 4G radio (and a bigger battery to support it).
It’s also possible that the switch to this new “micro dock” on iOS devices may be introduced on the iPad 3, but it’s hard to say since we don’t know the timing of the releases. The actual need for a smaller dock port is not nearly as important on a larger device like the iPad, but if the next iPad is released before the next iPhone, it may be a good way for Apple to introduce it to the public. That way, everyone can start making the switch to new dock size as they begin buying the next wave of Apple products.