back to article Apple's iPhone 5 connector said to be a control freak

Rumors that the iPhone's familiar 30-pin connector will be replaced in the iPhone 5 with a Micro-USB port have riled the fanbois universe, inciting charges of planned obsolecense and worse. New reports, however, point not to a standard Micro-USB port, but a new – and proprietary – Apple port. A bit of background: in case you …

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  1. Heff
    WTF?

    err

    Dont they **have** to give it a micro-usb compat in order to sell it in the EU? wasnt there a big ISO kick-off about phone chargers and whatnot a while back, or am I drunk again?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is it? Isn't it?

      Speculation is the best form of advertising.

      Maybe just wait until it appears, and I'm sure if they do something different there will be an adapter to see you through the transition .

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: err

      IIRC, the use of an adaptor satisfies the EU. Apple will charge you 8 quid for such a thing.

      1. Tapeador
        Stop

        Re: err

        Don't misunderestimate the ingenuity of the Chinese! Give it three months and eBay will be awash with 99p perfectly-functioning replicas!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: err

          I already got my microUSB adapter from Poundland. For £1, obviously. Plenty on Ebay at similar prices too.

        2. Armando 123
          Trollface

          Re: err

          "ingenuity ... Chinese ... perfectly-functioning replicas"

          Seriously? Say this out loud.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not the first time

    They have messed with their 30 pin ports in the past, which is why some old accessories don't work with newer devices. I remember getting a new iPod at one point, and some of my chargers didn't work with it.

    Even now, the power requirements differ between devices. My iPhone will charge from my pc USB port, but my iPad doesn't.....

    Wouldn't surprise me at all if they changed it all again, but that's the great thing about rumours, we won't know for sure till the 'new iPhone' is launched...

    1. Henry Blackman

      Re: Not the first time

      Your iPad will charge from your internal USB port, but only when it switched off and very slowly. Its actually because your PC doesn't meet the USB specifications requirements.

      1. Spikehead
        FAIL

        Re: Not the first time

        Erm, I think you'll find that the PC USB port will adhere to the USB standard. USB 2 according to the specs will supply up to 500mA. USB 3 will supply up to 900mA. The power adaptor for the ipad supplies up to 2A. So even if you have a USB 3 port, that is still less than half the power of the ipad charger.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not the first time

          " So even if you have a USB 3 port, that is still less than half the power of the iPad charger"

          …unless you are using some models of a Mac, in which case Apple exceed the USB standard for their kit.

          http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4049?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

      2. Ilgaz

        Usb spec

        No, usb spec is strictly 500ma Max, if your PC (motherboard actually) goes beyond it to make "people using PC to charge phones" happy, don't take them very serious.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Usb spec

          @llgaz: ports complying with USB Battery Charging Specification can actually deliver up to 1.5A.

        2. Craig 12

          Re: Usb spec

          My USB ports supply enough to properly charge an ipad, and they even work with the PC switched off. Everything else USB work fine as well, so specifications be damned, it's damn handy!

      3. rvt

        Re: Not the first time

        Henry, nit sure where younget that from but mine charges fine whenin use and it stillcharges fine.

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Not the first time

      You're absolutely right — specifically the port carried both Firewire and USB, the Firewire pins being one source of power that iPods could charge from. The Firewire functionality was removed so those chargers that supplied only via that connection ceased to function.

      If they swap connectors, expect adaptors to flourish.

    3. Michael Jennings

      Re: Not the first time

      To be fair, that is because the first iPods were connected via Firewire, not via USB. There was not reasonable way they could have been USB, because that was the time of USB 1.1, which simply was not fast enough to put all your music on an iPod in a reasonable time.

      When USB 2.0 became ubiquitous, iPods for a time supported both standards, then for a time they dropped the Firewire data connection but allowed Firewire charging, and finally went to USB only.

      I find it hard to blame Apple for anything there - standards simply changed.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Not the first time

        You're right, we forget how slow USB 1.1 was, but at the time we didn't mind because it was still new and cool to plug in a peripheral and use it without first restarting the PC! My digital camera at the time used standard floppy disks. Optical mice were still new. Getting a 3 MB Word file from a home computer to the Reprographics department could still be headache. CAD software had only been aimed at Windows machines for a few years, and often still looked like a UNIX port. Halo was going to be a game for Macs. Everyone had a Nokia; the battery lasted for weeks but your call-time top up lasted minutes. VHS ruled.

        FireWire was already in Macs, because Apple only seemed to have survived the nineties by being used in specific sectors, those that used high resolution scanners, digital camcorders and audio interfaces. It gave them a bit of a head start when they wanted to introduce a device measured in GBs not MBs.

    4. Wize

      Re: Not the first time

      One of the many reasons I've given for not wanting to get an iPhone is their special connector. You can get just about anything, from a TV to a car, with a built in Apple dock.

      But I've warned people over and over, once you go down the Apple road, its hard to get out as everything you have uses their special connection.

      No doubt, they will sell a new to old converter for the next few years, before they make that redundant too, till you all rush out and by new junk with Apple connections, while everyone else who use different brands of phone and mp3 player can hop between manufacturers and not have to change everything they own to fit it.

  3. JDX Gold badge

    Seems a bit daft, the vast majority of addons are not sold by Apple so what do they gain?

    1. David Gosnell

      A 100% Apple-controlled slice of the third party takings? A bit like iTunes, for hardware.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Britt Johnston
        Devil

        re: Conspiracy theory, like iTunes

        Apple are planning to monetise, then take over the electricity suppliers - 500mA/h at a time?

    2. BrownishMonstr

      I suspect that companies will have to license that watchdog chip if they want their gadget working.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I work with accessories for the iPhone and over the years Apple has actually been substantially reducing the licensing costs and complexity for iPod/iPhone/iPad accessories. For most devices there is a cost, but it's small fixed amount, similar to a codec license. Recently for Bluetooth 4 devices they have dropped MFI licensing altogether.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Seem to remember when firewire came out Apple wanted $1 per port royalty when the rest of the license pool were happy with 50c per device ... result was that part of the group went off and put their weight behind USB .

    3. Lallabalalla

      I once had a chat with an Apple support manager - the thing is... "we don't give a stuff about third party suppliers". Apple invent the specs and everyone else can play catch-up. Why *should they care, anyway? Apple don't make money off someone else's iPad case or phone dock.

  4. Darryl
    Gimp

    No matter

    If they do change the connector, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth, but people will still buy them because they're iPhones.

    As an aside, I can't see a magsafe connector making the phone more secure in a car mounting scenario. I thought the idea of magsafe was to make them quick-breakaway so that you didn't pull your Macbook off the desk when you tripped over the cord. Or at least that's what the "I'm a Mac" guy told us.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: No matter

      Magsafe connectors are secure until a threshold level of force is applied- in an automotive situation, this would mean that the phone would't 'creep' off its mount due to vibration.

      Somehow, I can't see Apple 'doing a Nokia'* without good reason- the abundance of kit for iDevices gives them the edge in convenience compared to other PMPs and phones. I guess it would have been too sensible for makers of rival devices to knock their heads together and come up with a rival dock-connector standard- Google could have taken a lead here, as Android leader. AFAIK only Sony have tried; bless em.

      *go from having two compatible chargers in every home, to 'WTF is this skinny thing?' to 'its got a f^%^ing mini / micro USB socket, why isn't the wretched thing charging off it? FFS!'

      1. DryBones
        Holmes

        Re: No matter

        They already did. It is called Micro-USB.

        1. Haku
          Coat

          Re: No matter

          Micro-USB is still too big, I'm looking forward to Femto-USB.

          1. Ilgaz

            Mad/ charismatic scientist needed

            We just need another Tesla. Electrical engineers hate us telling this but just imagine Tesla had access to computers with today's knowledge.

            It is 2012 and all we talk is whether a magnet need for a copper or its plug standard. Typing this on a dual core htc which I will have to plug soon. Nobody sees how pathetic it is? :)

            1. Brad Ackerman
              Mushroom

              Re: Mad/ charismatic scientist needed

              I'd be happer without another Tesla, actually. Tesla + Apple == Peace Ray?

              1. Ilgaz

                Re: Mad/ charismatic scientist needed

                Apple is already Edison company based on their style.

                We need mad scientist (Tesla)+ not so educated but filthy rich/ connected capitalist (Westinghouse) combination.

  5. Jonathan White
    FAIL

    'As such, this could all be speculation'

    You think?

  6. toadwarrior

    If it's true it's a total non-event. At worst you end up buying an adapter not re-buying everything and quite frankly catering to idiots who refuse to move forward is why we were stuck with IE6 so long.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    idevice users...

    You deserve it.

    Wait til the fall to hear about this being the greatest thing ever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: idevice users...

      I know, right?

      Do I smell a sour dairy product?

  8. Nanners
    Meh

    So when

    Are they supposed to be implementing the chargerpad that charges when you lay your device on it...bypassing all this.

    1. Craig Foster
      Facepalm

      Re: So when

      I've never understood why the iMac and Apple Displays never had inductive-coupling pads built into the base, to charge the wireless keyboards, mice, trackpad, and iDevices.

      Especially since the KB/MS/TP combo chews through rechargeables :S

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So when

        "Especially since the KB/MS/TP combo chews through rechargeables"

        Eneloop batteries work great - getting loads of recharge cycles from mine

    2. Richard Cartledge

      Re: So when

      I hope not.

  9. St3n
    Joke

    So what?

    I'll have to replace all my apple gear with virtually identical iStuff, but it'll be a small price to pay to be able to brag that I have an iPhone 5!

    Worth every penny.

  10. Long Fei
    Happy

    Rip off

    "Fury at Apple's 'rip-off' plan"

    Haha, surely iphanbois should be used to being ripped off?

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Rip off

      Check out the sales figures — there are a lot more people than the tiresome Internet flame brigade buying Apple products.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rip off

        @ThomH

        Two things:

        1) Well all those people should be used to being ripped off then

        and

        2) I didn't realise any of the tiresome internet flame brigade were buying Apple products. Unless you count the 50% of said brigade who live on the Apple side of the fence anyway.

    2. Armando 123

      Re: Rip off

      Uh huh.

      So, still using VHS? USB1? Floppy disks? Cassette tapes? Buggy whips?

      Part of the market, particularly in electronics and computing, is that when the latest and greatest is released, it's not really the latest and greatest because the latest and greatest's replacement is already in the lab and will be out within three years.

      So you can recognize this and deal with it, and recognize that Apple is more of a leader than a follower in this. Or you can stick with older tech and then have to upgrade when you get left behind. Your choice.

  11. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    FAIL

    How about Apple spend some time fixing the damn power cables?

    The iGadget power cables always fall apart - the cable jacket separates from the docking connection even with careful use. The original cables supplied with the iPods and iPhones all failed within a few months. The expensive genuine replacement cables failed in exactly the same way. Now we buy "OEM" ? cables in bulk from an overseas supplier (DX) - at least they're cheap enough that we've mitigated the financial impact of this Apple design FAIL.

    I've never seen such a poor and unreliable design. Shame on Apple.

    If Apple is now planning to lock out the aftermarket suppliers of $3 power cables, and not fix the design, this one stupid thing will have me looking at other options.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How about Apple spend some time fixing the damn power cables?

      Apple recently already improved the connectors... and it's not like they wouldn't give you a new one for free if you dropped by one of the stores with the broken one.

      1. JeffyPooh Silver badge

        Re: How about Apple spend some time fixing the damn power cables?

        Drop by an Apple Store?

        Yeah. Thanks for that. Not everyone lives in a town with an Apple Store.

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