Apple has traded the standard 30-pin connector for an 8-pin connector. This is a significant change both for consumer and for Apple. During Apple’s iPhone unveiling, the company told press that the new connector would make the iPhone faster and more durable. The new iPhone 5 is slightly faster, but not much faster. After all, the iPhone 5 still connects using USB 2.0 and not USB 3.0 or something faster like Thunderbolt. So, really, that faster claim is somewhat far-fetched.
The new Lightning Connector is, however, more durable. You’ll also find that it’s easier to charge the new phone or connect it to a dock thanks to the 8-pin version. On the downside, the Lightning Connector is not compatible with any current dock or power cord that you currently have. Will you have to run out and buy all new accessories to go with your new iPhone? Not necessarily. Here’s the Lightning Connector story in full detail.
It’s All About Design
The old 30-pin connector was a pain. Trying to plug that connector into a dock or power cord meant flipping a cord over a few times. The old connector would only connect if it was held the right way. This is no longer the case. Apple’s Lightning Connector can connect no matter how you hold it. Clearly, user ease was on Apple’s mind when creating the 8-pin version. Apple had something else in mind too: design. The 8-pin connect simply looks better, is easier for dock manufacturers to get around, and creates a sleeker iPhone.
But is the new 8-pin connector really faster? Technically, the new iPhone 5 is slightly faster than the older iPhone 4 or 4S. Is it “lightning” fast? Not so much. You will notice that the 8-pin connector makes things more secure, though. When plugged, the new iPhone doesn’t have to be shaken (or stirred!) in order to secure a solid connection to a dock or charger. So, there’s the good news. Are you ready for the (somewhat) bad news?
The Trouble With New
As fast, secure, and sleek as the new Lightning Connector may be, it’s not compatible with any older Apple product that you might have. Apple has made some strides to change this, however. Apple is selling a Lighting to 30-pin adaptor. Note: Apple is selling this adaptor. You won’t get a free 30-pin adaptor if you purchase an iPhone 5. You will have to buy this adaptor for $39. That’s a pretty steep price to pay considering the fact that the new iPhone is already expensive.
The other problem you will run into is that Apple is already selling out of the 30-pin adaptors. Those who currently have docks and chargers set for the 30-pin iPhone want that Lightning adaptor, and Apple just can’t keep up. It’s possible, then, that you might be without an adaptor for a while, and this just isn’t good news.
Apple might have created a bit of a problem with the new 8-pin connection. Sure, it’s sturdier and easier to use, but that adaptor is not free, it is scarce, and some consumers just don’t want to spend the money for an all-new dock or new adaptor. How will Apple’s Lightning Connector impact you? You may have to plunk down some extra cash if you want to buy a new iPhone and also want to adapt.