Those of us who remember spending good money on an iPhone 3GS case know all too well how it became junk once Apple went to squared-off smartphone casing. (If you were using a combined case and battery pack too, you might have wished the new iteration came with an app to print $100 bills.) Unfortunately, recent rumors about the iPhone 5 suggest that Apple may send its loyal customers digging even deeper into their wallets, beyond the typical case replacement.
"According to the rumor mill, Apple is preparing to replace the 30-pin dock connector found on the bottom of every iPhone ever made with a newer — and not to mention smaller — dock connector," Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes at ZDNet. He stresses that Apple has yet to confirm whether this is true, although TechCrunch claims to have "independently verified" that the new dock connector will sport a 19-pin interface, pictured right. TechCrunch also mounted a video that purportedly shows an iPhone 5 prototype getting manhandled. (You can also see photos that supposedly show the iPhone 5's visual profile at ETradesupply.)
If this comes to pass, ZDNet points out that all your docking accessories will subsequently join that pile of garage-sale iFodder. While the site admits that every new smartphone will naturally require additional purchases, like a new case, Kingsley-Hughes laments that, "once the iPhone 5 is released, I'm bracing myself for a significant hit to my wallet as I come to terms with having to buy a whole raft of new accessories" that include music docks, chargers, and the like.
As a deal site, however, we see numerous vendors that offer replica cables, so it's reasonable to think that these makers would similarly create adapters that allow your outdated accessories to convert to the new standard. But ZDNet and other outlets also speculate that the iPhone 5 dock connector will contain a chip that prevents unlicensed hardware from working with it. It stands to reason then that adapters and new 19-pin iPhone accessories could carry higher price tags as Apple exerts control over who makes them for the iPhone 5.
As Kingsley-Hughes puts it: "If Apple does change the dock connector and I end up upgrading, then I'm looking at replacing about 10 different accessories. My wallet is already groaning."
So readers, what do you think? On the one hand, Apple has always held that tweaking the iPhone design to enlarge its battery, improve its reception, or add to its list of goodies has meant requisite changes to the device's overall design and casing. And consumers who want to benefit from the latest features should be prepared to pay the price to keep up with the technological times.
But should Apple work harder to make sure that its iPhone accessories have more continuity between versions? Or should Apple offer rebates, exchanges and / or special discounts on new cables and the like once the iPhone makes the leap to 5? Will you hold off on purchasing new dock accessories for your current phone, for fear that they will soon become irrelevant? Sound off in the comments below.