New iPhone dock: One of Apple's worst ideas?
Reports suggest that the company is switching from a 30-pin to a 19-pin setup -- rendering users' current accessories obsolete.
Apple's (AAPL) next iPhone is due for a radical redesign. Among the more controversial changes, the company will reportedly switch from a 30-pin dock connector to a smaller 19-pin design for its future iPhones and iPads, starting this year. According to Reuters, the move is certain to frustrate millions of Apple fans who will have to replace their existing accessories — such as iHomes or car chargers — to accomodate the new connector. The 30-pin system has been an Apple standard since the first iPod.
Is changing the design now an unnecessary annoyance, or actually an innovative step forward?
A lot of people will be angry: The change "will obsolete a decade of accessories," says Ed Oswald at Extreme Tech. Apple may be doing this for good reasons, "but it's going to cause a world of hurt for upgrading users." Car chargers, docks, iPod/iPhone car integration, and other add-ons will all be rendered useless. For third-party accessory makers the change will "prove a gold mine," but consumers with a lot of accessories will need to tack a few hundred extra dollars to the price of a new device.
Deal with it: This move has to happen, says Adrian Covert at Gizmodo. "As much as it seems like some greedy ploy by Apple to screw you over and force you into buying another set of expensive toys," the truth is that "any innovative, forward-looking company has to make these difficult breaks with the status quo." By shrinking the dock connector and opening up extra space, Apple will be able to cram more hardware into the iPhone, resulting in a better phone overall. That's how technology works.
Apple might do fans a solid: "There's been speculation that Apple could sell an adapter," says Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDnet, which would allow the 19-pin connector to be hooked up to accessories designed for the older model. On the other hand, Apple could hardwire the iPhone to prevent third-party versions of an adapter from functioning, meaning more control for Apple over the accessory ecosystem. In that case, tough luck.
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