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30-pin dock connector, your number is up: Reuters is now adding its own soulful voice to the chorus of rumors claiming that Apple is going to ditch its classic dock connector in favor of something much smaller. So much for all those compatible accessories lying around the house!
Reuters is reporting that Apple is indeed planning to revamp the 30-pin dock connector this fall with the release of the next iPhone, shrinking the port to 19 pins and making way for a headphone jack at the bottom of the handset.
"That would mean the new phone would not connect with the myriad of accessories such as speakers and power chargers that form part of the ecosystem around iPods, iPads and iPhones, without an adaptor," the report notes, overstating the obvious.
First introduced with the third-generation iPod back in April, 2003, the 30-pin dock connector has had a pretty good ride where technology is concerned. Almost a decade old, the connector is almost as ubiquitous as the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad themselves, thanks to a wide variety of compatible accessories.
So what happens when the connector gets changed? Those accessory companies get to cash in all over again.
"It represents an opportunity for accessory vendors," explains Pete Cunningham, an analyst with research firm Canalys. "The iPhone connector has been a standard for a long time now and I would expect the same to be true for a new connector, should Apple change it as expected."
Much like the recent introduction of a slimmer MagSafe 2 on the 2012 MacBook models, Apple is likely to offer an adapter to allow users to continue using older accessories with the 30-pin dock connector -- but that may not work with many of them, such as Magellan's Premium Car Kit for iPhone and iPod touch, which lacks the necessary clearance for such a widget.
According to one analyst, that's not likely to deter Apple's most ardent fans.
"I don't think it will stop Apple consumers from buying the new gadgets," said C.K. Lu, a Gartner analyst. "Many companies are interested in developing accessories for Apple because Apple users are more open and willing to buy accessories."
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter