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Future iPod Connectors to Inherit Magsafe Design Cues [U]

Apple has used the same 30-pin dock connector since the first iPod in 2001 third generation iPod. With the 10x faster USB 3.0 coming in 2009, it is rumored that Apple’s iPod connection ports may be updated to the faster connection, while inheriting a few design cues from Apple’s smaller form factor adapters.

30pin Introduced with the first iPod in 2001 to sync with Firewire, then later with USB 2.0, the 30 pin dock connector on all iPods and iPhones has remained unchanged for 7 years. As iPods have grown more compact, the 30 pin connector has become an industrial design sore spot. Aside from being a major entry point for water damage, iPhone users find it collects dust and lint when carried in a pocket and often has to be cleaned out before functioning properly. Fortunately, Apple his its eyes set on changing this, while inheriting a safer design, and boosting data transfer speeds between devices.

As we’ve previously explained, USB 3.0 promises speeds up to 600 MB/s — a 10x increase over the current USB 2.0 rate. A 25gb music library that takes 13 minutes to transfer over USB 2.0 will take only 70 seconds with the new standard. The final protocol specification for USB 3.0 is being released today at the SuperSpeed USB Developer Conference in San Jose, CA. Analysts expect USB 3.0 devices to start arriving next year.

Even though a switch such as this may seem drastic, Apple has always been on the forefront of innovation. A lot of the time, while other companies and competitors are adapting a technology, Apple is shifting away from, or working towards a new solution. The third party accessory market would thrive from such a transition, and Apple is aware that an entire industry of accessory makers rely on the company’s innovation. Rather than stay sedentary, and keep releasing new iPods and iPhones with the standard 30 pin connector, Apple may be making a shift in the near future.

Apple officially made the shift to the Mini DisplayPort in the latest notebook line overhaul unveiled in October. This new proprietary video port is a miniaturization of the DisplayPort and requires an adapter to connect to the DVI port on most monitors. It is expected Apple will move to a new and smaller proprietary connector for the next generation of iPods and iPhones, and has been waiting for the arrival of the USB 3.0 standard to do so. An adapter will likely be made available to connect the new port to the many accessories made for the 30 pin dock connector. Design cues from Apple’s MagSafe power adapter are also expected, using magnets to hold it the adapter in place and having the ability to safely separate if accidentally pulled apart.

As data transfer needs have greatly increased – from backing up large hard drives to downloading video from hi-def digital video cameras – USB 3.0 is expected to be quickly and widely adopted throughout the industry. USB 3.0 also carries more voltage to charge multiple devises and is backwards compatible to earlier USB versions 2.0 and 1.0. It is believed the shift to the faster USB 3.0 is the opportune time for Apple to update the long used iPod connector, and is far enough in development to appear in the next revision of iPods and iPhones.

Update: Thank you to MacBlogz reader dejo for the correction.e. As you can see, it was phrased right in the second paragraph

Comments [13]

13 Comments to “Future iPod Connectors to Inherit Magsafe Design Cues [U]

Owly @ November 17th, 2008 at 7:27 am
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Only a matter of time before this was happening. Everytime I unplug my nano or my iPhone from the charger and I have to squueze in, or I here the friction in the connectors I tense up a bit. The magsafe connection is so nice and smooth and sexy. I’d like to see that in all of the devices… For sure.

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fdg @ April 24th, 2009 at 7:03 am
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i think you are right i freak out every time too, just like you

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Assemblyline @ November 17th, 2008 at 7:59 am
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This is a given. Apple’s current 30 pin dock is simply old and prongy. It’s not very refined.

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AllenH @ November 17th, 2008 at 8:38 am
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I would like to know specifically when this will be happening, and if this would affect Apple’s notebook models? Would they be releasing new ones soon with the new USB 3.0?

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DoorsFan @ November 17th, 2008 at 8:48 am
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I doubt it Allen. If anything, there will be a slew of dongles available. Apple wouldn’t make a move like this without preparing first.

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MSoffice @ November 17th, 2008 at 9:49 am
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makes sense.

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Rob Podell @ November 17th, 2008 at 11:40 am
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I just wish apple would pick a freaking standard for monitor output jacks. There’s one for the flat panel iMac, one for the ibook, one for the powerbook, one for the new macbook… it is pretty infuriating. Just pick a small connector and quit updating it every freakin year.

Oh, and bring back firewire!

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dejo @ November 17th, 2008 at 12:03 pm
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“Apple has used the same 30-pin dock connector since the first iPod in 2001.”

Um, that’s so wrong! The original iPod only came with a FireWire connection.

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shmogo @ November 17th, 2008 at 1:37 pm
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Acutally dude, it’s not. The one side was firewire, the 30-pin connector has been the same for a LONG time.

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dejo @ November 17th, 2008 at 1:59 pm
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No, the 30-pin dock connector was not introduced until the 3rd-generation iPod.

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BillQ @ November 17th, 2008 at 2:27 pm
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corrections made dejo. gave u credit too.

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dejo @ November 17th, 2008 at 2:45 pm
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Thanks for the credit.

Sorry, gonna nitpick again. The dock connector debuted in late April 2003, so really it has only been around for just over 5 1/2 years, not 7. ;-)

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Aviv @ November 17th, 2008 at 2:32 pm
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Here’s a link, http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1353 — scroll down and it will explain the difference between ports, first, second and third generation.

“iPod (dock connector models are referred to as third generation iPod models.”

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