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Why Apple went with the new Lightning connector — Engenieer explains

14 comments
Why Apple went with the new Lightning connector — Engenieer explains

The iPhone 5 was launched a few days ago. It has a new connector and has been given the name “Lightning Connector” It’s a 9 pin connector that has replaced the old 30-pin dock connector.

This change has received a lot of criticism as a lot of people don’t understand why it’s necessary and the fact that why didn’t Apple just go along with the standard Micro USB connector.

Rainer Brockerhoff, a software programmer and ex-engineer explains why Apple didn’t use the micro USB connector:

“People keep asking why Apple didn’t opt for the micro-USB connector. The answer is simple: that connector isn’t smart enough. It has only 5 pins: +5V, Ground, 2 digital data pins, and a sense pin, so most of the dock connector functions wouldn’t work – only charging and syncing would. Also, the pins are so small that no current plug/connector manufacturer allows the 2A needed for iPad charging.”

There are a number of benefits to Apple from making their own connector. For example, the connector has no right way to plug in, it’s completely reversible. It also gives Apple some control over accessories and it will also lead to revenue generation.

However, old accessories compatible with the old connector would face a problem. What’s going to happen to them? The ‘Lightning converter’ would come into play. People still have to spend more money just to make the old accessories compatible. It might not even work as it may have some compatibility issues. There might be more to the new dock connector. More will be discovered later on. What’s your theory? Feel free to share your thoughts with us.

  1. they should have kept the 30 pin!! :(

  2. they should have kept the 30 pin!! :(

  3. They couldnt stick with the 30 pin forever. I’m glad to see a change but then again I dont have any accessories that use the 30 pin. I always just use an auxiliary cable when I want to connect my iDevice to an audio source. Also, the lightning connector allows for the device to be smaller/thinner. While I plan on sticking with my iPhone 4 for a long time to come, I do love the design of the iPhone 5.

    Android sucks

    • I’m annoyed that they didn’t go with microusb. Apple is lying about the “most of the dock connector functions wouldn’t work” – Android devices have no problems with plugging into a compatible dock.
      Furthermore, the official apple adaptor could have been modified to interperate 30 pin signals into microusb.
      This is apple-tax at its worst! I am seriously considering on moving to android now…

  4. Apple have to progress onto new things, so why not do this now instead of later. I am looking forward to the new connector and i like the reversible design it has.

  5. i honestly think the new 9 pin connector was the better choice. the micro USB port would have just lost them money because most new phones come with the micro USB port, which would allow those people who own those phones to use them and with that Apple would lose money. The iPhone got bigger, the charger got smaller. Logic! >_>

  6. As far as I’m concerned, Apple is bad ass, I’m sticking with them, all you haters can go on and switch over to the copy cat. If a change in the connector is all it takes? give me a break.

  7. The move had to happen sooner or later, so now it’s done. I think that I’m dropping 300 bones on this new phone they could have at least thrown it in at no cost. Or at least offer it to anyone who preordered it. That would have at least smoothed this transition. Hope ur listening Apple step up!

  8. lol :D micro usb not being smart enough… can’t stop myself laughing. More likely apple accessories and integration isn’t smart enough…

  9. Ah, I almost forgot – USB cable spec rates the safety limit for current at 5A, a little more than twice than needed for iStuff charging. Mr Brockerhoff definitely doesn’t deserve to exist in one sentence with the word “engineer”.

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