Apple’s iPhone 5 is expected to be on sale this coming October. It is also expected to have a 19-pin connector port at the bottom instead of the proprietary 30-pin port “to make room for the earphone moving to the bottom”.
What would this mean? This simply mean that there will be a LOT of accessories such as speakers and power chargers that form part of the ecosystem around iPods, iPads and iPhones, that won’t be compatible with the new iPhone anymore.
This would be new business.
“It represents an opportunity for accessory vendors,” said Pete Cunningham, London-based analyst at technology 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.”
Apple, however, did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
Tech blogs have long speculated that the 30-pin connector, which at 21 mm wide takes up a chunk of space. The microUSB is also speculated to use more power even with less space.
Speculators say that the turnaround of Apple might be the point wherein designs or battery life upgrades.
Surprisingly, vendors in China have started to sell cases for the new phone, complete with earphone socket on the bottom and a “guarantee” the dimensions are correct.
This change might be the opening door for new businesses.
“iPod docking speaker sales have been declining for one or two years,” said an employee of a Hong Kong-based company that specializes in Apple speaker design.
“My previous factory is a lucky one. They shifted the focus to Bluetooth speakers, which proved a wise decision now,” the employee said anonymously.
“It looks like while iPod speaker sales are going down, Bluetooth speaker sales are going up.”
“Apple needs to find a solution not to disappoint their current clients who want to upgrade to the new iPhone but are tied to an expensive accessory that have bought,” said Franciso Jeronimo, London-based analyst at technology research firm IDC.
“I believe Apple will come up with some sort of adaptor so the new iPhone can be used with previous connectors.”
“With a smaller connector, what am I going to do with my loudspeaker at home and the fitness pack that I use when I go to the gym? That’s the question,” said 24-year old Travis Tam, who owns an iPhone 4.
In the end, Apple fans will remain Apple fans.
“I don’t think it will stop Apple consumers from buying the new gadgets,” said C.K. Lu, Taipei-based analyst at research firm Gartner. “Many companies are interested in developing accessories for Apple because Apple users are more open and willing to buy accessories.”