Apple will introduce a 19-pin dock connector on its next iPhone – a major downsizing from the 30-pin dock connector on the current model, in order "to make room for the earphone moving to the bottom," Reuters reports. Standard caveats apply: Apple hasn't even confirmed the existence of a new iPhone, which is widely expected to hit shelves in October.
And Reuters sources its report only to a pair of unnamed sources "familiar with the matter." But let's assume Reuters has its story straight (it usually does). Is a rejiggered dock connector really that big of a deal? Well, yes, if you're concerned with things like cross-device compatibility, it sure is. As Eric Zeman writes over at Information Week, it's "understandable" that Apple would want a smaller dock connector – it will "save precious space inside the next iPhone."
Still, Zeman adds, "it's puzzling why it would move to another proprietary design instead of using the industry standard microUSB. MicroUSB has become the accepted port for every other cell phone maker on the planet. It would be far better for consumers if Apple went with a standard port rather than its own."
Better for consumers but not necessarily better for accessory makers, who typically rake in a great big bundle of cash every time a new Apple product hits the market. "[The 19-pin connector] represents an opportunity for accessory vendors," Canalys analyst Pete Cunningham told Reuters. "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."
Excited for the launch of the next iPhone? Join the club. According to a new survey from ChangeWave Research, a "record" number of Americans are planning to scoop up the iPhone 5 (hat tip to Computerworld). Expect long lines and a general media meltdown. But don't get too attached to the name iPhone 5. Who knows what Apple is going to call their next smartphone? We vote for anything except Apple iPhone 19-Pin 4G.