September 6, 2012

Want A 9-pin Adapter For Your iPhone 5? Talk To Apple

The notion of a new dock connector in the iPhone 5 isn’t a new one. TechCrunch kicked off the second iPhone rumor season just after this year’s WWDC by “Confirming” Apple would replace the familiar yet antiquated 30-pin connector with a newer, 19-pin variety.

Following rumors would whittle this number down to a 9-pin connector.

The reaction to this news was inevitable: iPhone users mournfully put on their favorite James Taylor album and gathered every 30-pin connector they’ve ever accumulated, twisting them between their fingers as they reminisced about the good times of iPhones and iPods of yesteryear.

How could Apple release a product which would render these old, dirty cords and docks unusable? If these iPhone customers were sad then, they’ll likely be infuriated now.

According to sources speaking with iLounge, Apple hasn’t yet shared these new dock connector plans with any third-party developers, meaning you likely won’t see any crisp, new iPhone accessories under your Christmas tree this year, that is, unless they come from Apple themselves.

I know, it’s tough to hear.

Last week, iLounge claimed that their sources have told them that no accessory makers have any components or engineering details about these new connectors.

Today, iLounge takes these claims one step further, saying their sources have heard Apple plans to take complete control over the new dock connectors and adapters. According to this new development, Apple plans to sell these 9-pin dock connector adapters at $10 a pop. Those value minded customers can pick up a pack of 3 for only $29, a $1 savings. New Apple branded USB cables will also sell for $19 each. These prices are consistent with Apple’s MagSafe to MagSafe 2 adapter, another accessory that only Apple has the right to sell.

Sources have also told iLounge that Apple has stopped approving any third-party proposals for any accessories which utilize dock connector, be it 30- or 9-pin.

If this rumor pans out, Apple stands to make quite a bit of money. Some quick, dashboard calculator math shows Apple could earn a revenue of $100 million for every 10 million connectors they sell at $10. (By the way, Gene Munster has said today he expects Apple to sell these 10 million iPhones in the first week alone.)

I have to wonder why anyone is surprised or even upset by this?

Apple has a long track record of removing technologies or other features of their products if they feel the end result is a better experience. And yes, even if the only benefit is a thinner device, (though I’m sure there’s more to look forward to) a thinner device is a huge deal to Apple.

Apple also loves control, and this move ensures they have complete and total say in what’s being plugged into their latest devices. Whether or not there’s a good, technological reason for limiting the amount of accessories, Apple will always prefer total control. Furthermore, they aren’t the only company to insist customers buy their branded accessories for their products. Sony’s Memory Sticks spring immediately to mind.

Finally, this is Apple’s prerogative. They tried a similar move with the bumpers in 2010. When the iPhone 4 was first announced, Apple was ready with their own accessory, made to protect the phone without destroying the design aesthetic of the thing. They could have earned a mint on those pieces of silicon, too, if it weren’t for that pesky antenna-gate.

Me? I’ll probably pick up a value pack of adapters. I can think of maybe 2 accessories I use that I’ll need an adapter for.

At the end of the day, we not only buy a phone, we buy into an ecosystem, and this is just one of the rules of Apple’s playground.

I’ll be out $30, a small price to pay to ensure that I can still use my few accessories with Apple’s latest and greatest.

And honestly, any third-party accessory maker had to have seen this coming. Getting upset about this change is just like crawling into bed with a Tiger and then getting upset when it attacks you.

Besides, I suspect that, no matter how much fuss people put up in the days leading up to the 12th about this change, they’ll still buy as many adapters as they need.

In other words, no one is going to decide to go Android or Windows Phone because Apple is charging $10 for an adapter.

Image Credit: Northfoto /

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