The death of the 30-pin connector and what it means

Definitely not the 30-pin dock we're used to

Another day, another round of next-gen iPhone rumors. Today we got another glimpse of what appears to be the backplate of the new iPhone. What’s more, unlike the iPhone 4 and 4S, the back and sides of this latest device are manufactured in a single, unibody piece. This means that we also got a look at the sides, top and bottom framing our future iPhones. One notable change to the frame of the device is the moving of the headphone jack down to the bottom. It’s important to note that the only reason the headphone jack fits down there now is because the dock connector is significantly smaller than anything we’ve seen on an iOS device before.

I’ve seen a number of comments about this leaked backplate along the lines of “This is obviously fake, Apple’s always had the 30-pin dock connector and they’re not going to change it now.” On the contrary, though, I think that is the perfect reason to ditch it in favor of an updated port. The 30-pin connector has been around for over ten years! I can’t think of another piece of Apple tech that’s lasted – basically unchanged – for so long. It would be an excellent alteration to the iPhone to scrap those 30 pins in favor of a version of the super fast Thunderbolt port. And, assuming that these leaks are accurate, I think Apple might have done just that.

Now, there are both good and bad aspects of such a change. Obviously the Thunderbolt system is much faster and more efficient, plus the fact that it takes up less physical space is great for design reasons. It’s the latest and greatest in data transfer, so I’m actually kind of surprised it didn’t make it onto the iPhone 4S or third-generation iPad.

Good riddance!

The downside is, of course, not a single one of our iAccessories would be compatible. That’s wall chargers, speakers, USB cables, battery packs, car chargers, and everything else that connects to our current gadgets via the 30-pin dock. This is surely going to anger more than a few people and I’d be lying if I said it won’t be annoying to have to re-buy everything to fit a new iPhone. That being said, I don’t think Apple as a company has any problems with this partially because it’ll bring in a lot of additional cash but also because this change has to happen at some point. It’s not going to be any more convenient a year or two from now, so there’s no point in putting it off any longer. The Thunderbolt connection has gained enough popularity to help smooth the transition and Apple’s proved that it’s the superior choice.

Furthermore, Apple is clearly looking to bring unity to their whole array of products. The latest round of Macs all sport Thunderbolt ports and I’d bet the next iteration of iPods and iPads have it too. And, whether this new port is a Thunderbolt or some other Apple proprietary connector, I still say it’s better than the 30-pin dock we’ve known for so long.

What do you guys think? Are you ready to say good riddance to the 30-pin dock connector in favor of the next generation of connection ports, or would you prefer to stick with the tried and true dock you first met back in 2001? Weigh in down below in the comments section below or let me know on twitter.

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  • kg4icg

    @kg4icg Thunderbolt will not work on iPhone or iPad without a Intel chipset bing added to said devices.


    100% not thunderbolt… If they want to lose alot of consumers, thunderbolt is the way!

  • richj0700

    What abut those of us who don’t own a mac, will apple include 2 cables?

  • NickPetrizzio

    I’ll buy a Android phone next, that’s all
    Not supporting a company who wants to force me to get a new computer too

  • randomprice

     @kg4icg Exactly. This is NOT happening. It will be a smaller dock, that’s it.

  • WhatWhat

    I think it’s a magsafe type adapter that uses USB.

  • spraggy_

    that would be awesome.

  • CincyTeri

    @JRiezy @techcrunch Can’t you just tell me what it means and if it will affect me?

  • JRiezy

    @CincyTeri do you have iPhone accessories and plan on getting the new iPhone when and if it’s released with a new dock connector?

  • CincyTeri

    @JRiezy No, I seriously doubt it.

  • raydiablo

    the funny thing is last year for ios5 werent they marketing the whole OS was going pc free and cutting the cord… wifi sync, ota updates….but now we’re going back to using the cord. just making the cord faster ? 0.0

  • TiP_Cam

    Personally, I can’t imagine Apple making this a Thunderbolt exclusive port. It will be a smaller connector for sure, but it will almost certainly be compatible with USB. Not near enough people have Thunderbolt yet, Apple would be stupid to ignore the power of the universal. 

  • TiP_Cam

     @NickPetrizzio It will work with USB too, not just Thunderbolt, don’t worry. 

  • TiP_Cam

    Exactly. It won’t be exclusively Thunderbolt. 

  • TiP_Cam

     @kg4icg Thunderbolt will work, the same way it works with a hard drive, or monitor, as long as the computer it’s connected to has Intel. That said, it’s highly unlikely that USB will be ignored. 

  • JRiezy

    @CincyTeri then your good.

  • awining02

    its going to be the 30 changes just a longer phone online pictures never come true.butt the phone will look totally different.

  • wktonnylam

    Is it possible to have a converter in between Thunderbolt port and 30 pin apple connector? If it is possible, then Thunderbolt port would be more likely to appear in new generation of Iphone.

  • ArkAngel_X

    I think while it may look like Thunderbolt, the iPhone may come with a standard USB to iPhone 5 Power/Sync cable, with those wanting to use the Thunderbolt connectivity in their iMac’s and PC’s (Thunderbolt has came to PC’s in the forme of ASUS motherboards.) can buy an iPhone Thunderbolt cable from Apple.

  • Jaisyja

    @awining02 Awks, It turned out like that…