Apple may be planning to introduce a new connector type for its iPhones, iPads, and other Apple accessories under the MFi (Made-for-iPhone) program. The new connector, dubbed “Ultra Accessory Connector” (UAC), is already in the hands of developers as a preview to prepare for the manufacturing process. Citing sources familiar with the program, 9to5Mac reports that in some cases this connector will replace Lightning as a whole.
The report says that the tip measures in at 2.05mm by 4.85mm and is an 8-pin connection that is slightly thinner than USB-C, and is about half as wide as USB-C or Lightning. The new connector is similar to the old ultra mini USB connectors.
The UAC would allow accessory makers to save space on their designs versus using the Apple Lightning or USB-C connectors.
The specification for the connector specifically details the cable being used for headphones. Apple would allow manufacturers to create Lightning to UAC, USB-A to UAC, and 3.5mm audio jack to UAC, which would allow headphones with the UAC port to connect to the iPhone.
The report states that’s it’s currently unclear if Apple plans on using this connector beyond audio accessories. Right now, only the specs are available to manufacturers via a developer preview to prepare them for adoption of the new spec and hardware.
The introduction of a new connector seems like an odd one to say the least. Apple currently ships Lightning with its iPhone and iPad, and USB-C for its newer Macs. Considering both the iPhone 7 and MacBook Pro 2016 had significant backlash for removing older ports, it’s hard to believe that Apple wants to introduce yet another connector. On top of this, the iPhone 7 shipped with a Lightning to USB-A cable and Lightning EarPods that can’t be connected to any Mac. It seems like Apple has a uniformity issue with connector and wants to fix it by introducing yet another connector…