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Design Thrills Apple’s Partners,

but Will Cost Users

The iPhone 5 has plenty of new features to keep Apple fans happy. But there is one feature Apple unveiled on Wednesday that is likely to annoy many: a new connector on the phone’s base.

The Lightning port, as Apple calls it, is smaller and shaped differently from the old one, instantly rendering obsolete the millions of spare charging cords, docks and iPhone-ready clock radios that its customers have accumulated over the years. While irritating to some, the Lightning connector could be a boon to the hundreds of companies that sell accessories for iPhones and iPads. “Apple is testing the patience of its fans,” said Tero Kuittinen, an independent analyst and a vice president of Alekstra, a company that helps customers manage cellphone costs.

“A lot of Apple fans have a lot of different accessories and use the old systems, so this is going to be a fairly expensive shift for a lot of them,” Mr. Kuittinen said. Makers of iPhone accessories are likely to be ecstatic, he added. Apple, which is selling Lightning cables and $30 adapters that will connect the new phones to many but not all older accessories, is, of course, poised to profit from the design change as well. Apple said the smaller connector allowed it to make the phone thinner and use space inside the device more efficiently. Accessories for Apple products are already a vast and lucrative business. In the last year, iPad, iPod and iPhone add-ons, including speakers, cases and power chargers, generated $2 billion in sales in the United States alone, according to the NPD Group, a research firm.

To stay on top of the market and avoid building products that will soon be out of date, accessory makers have to watch Apple as attentively as any technology journalist or analyst. Apple, which is known for its culture of secrecy, generally keeps accessory makers in the dark before it unveils its new hardware. The companies rely instead on leaks from Apple’s manufacturing partners in Asia, or on rumors about the devices that surface on Apple-focused blogs. On the day of an Apple hardware announcement, they watch reports of the event and wait for data sheets to come from Apple with details on the devices before they crank up manufacturing in China.

Griffin Technology, a company in Nashville that makes Apple accessories, said that moments after Apple introduced the iPhone 5, its employees were making final design tweaks in its prototyping shop, where 3-D printers turn out mock-ups of future products. Many Griffin employees had already traveled to China from the United States to be there when the iPhone 5 was introduced.

“Kind of like everyone else, we’re at the same starting line in the race to the peg,” said Mark Rowan, Griffin’s president. Similarly, employees of Incase, a maker of iPhone cases based in San Francisco, crowded into a conference room to watch online reports of Apple’s presentation, said Dave Gatto, the chief executive. Employees in China were waiting at factories for final design specifications so they could start making cases.

Occasionally a rare few in the business get a peek at an Apple prototype, according to Jeremy Horwitz, editor in chief of iLounge, a Web site that reviews Apple accessories. Much as some software developers get to use a new Apple product in advance so they can have software ready to show off on Apple’s stage, he said, some accessory makers have had access to Apple devices before their unveiling. Mr. Horwitz said these devices were typically locked down to prevent theft or leaks.

Some companies take unsanctioned routes to get ahead of the game. Hard Candy Cases, a case maker, sent iPhone 5 cases to journalists before Apple even introduced the phone. Tim Hickman, chief executive of the company, said manufacturers in Shenzhen, where his cases are made, sent around design information for unreleased iPhones to attract case makers like himself.

“The factories have gone from, ‘Shhh, hey, buddy, look at what I have for you,’ to making it part of their presentation,” he said. Mr. Hickman said he did not buy information from leakers in Asia. Instead, he said, he made a deal with a factory that had told him it could make cases for the iPhone 5 and asked him to send designs that it would then modify to fit the new phone. He said his iPhone 5 cases for sale to customers would arrive in the United States in about three days.

IHome, a New York company that is one of the biggest makers of iPhone clock radios and other Apple audio accessories, tries to plan for Apple’s announcements but does not assume anything is fact until the company unveils its new hardware, said Ezra S. Ashkenazi, its chief executive. He called the Lightning change “a unique circumstance” because it was the first time Apple had changed the connector since it was introduced.

There are already iPhone clock radios made by iHome and other companies in hotel rooms around the world. Kathy Duffy, director of public relations for the Marriott hotels in New York, said that if many patrons seemed to be getting the iPhone 5, the company would probably stock up on adapters or buy new accessories. “We’d have to evaluate it and see what the demand is,” she said.

http://www.nytimes.c...-users.html?hpw

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Obsolete *unless you buy the adapter*. Problem solved, no big deal.

I think Apple kind of made sense when they said "we used the 30-pin connector for 9 years, it was time to go to something smaller".

It's also a valid point that the actual pinout of the connection has changed over the years. Things like charging are the same pins, but a lot of the other pins changed over time (composite video out). Apple is pretty secretive about what individual pins are, but there are a few websites that have the different configurations.

Apple seems to be on the warpath saying connectors are holding them back from making thinner products. They said that was why they had to scrap ethernet ports and change up the old magsafe plug for this generation of laptops.

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Obsolete *unless you buy the adapter*. Problem solved, no big deal.

I think Apple kind of made sense when they said "we used the 30-pin connector for 9 years, it was time to go to something smaller".

I agree. It's all about moving forward. Apple will always risk pissing off someone or some group by changing something, even things as fundamental as the ports on the device, connectors, etc. I for one am thankful that they make these moves. I have little patience with people who say Apple does all these things just so we have to keep on buying new stuff. The fact of the matter is, whatever Apple does, basically the whole world continues to purchase Apple stuff in record numbers. No other manufacturer has been able to come up with the Mac killer, the iPhone killer, the iPad killer, etc. --- all of these products are outselling their respective competitors.

To innovate you have to be willing to give up certain legacies, in everything from physical design, user interaction and such. Apple is not immune from mis-steps in the process, a clear example recently was changing the whole "Save" and "Save, As" routine in OS X (a routine that we have all used for decades). In most cases, changes are made usually, that preserves the vital procedure, and we can still move forward.

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I don't know but that new 9 pin connector sure looks like it will be easy to snap off. Thin long and flat do not make for a sturdy design.

Perhaps it is built on a titanium blade or something. If it is plastic like it looks like, I would think the the added torque from the 30pin adaptor on one end and the phone on the other would sure be a recipe for bent or broken plug. It also appears that there is no permanent locking mechanism, just dimples on the edge that probably snap into spring detents in the phone.

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I'm very curious about the new headphones, called Earpods. According to the video on the keynote a quite innovative design.

http://mashable.com/2012/09/13/apple-earpods-look-like/

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I don't know but that new 9 pin connector sure looks like it will be easy to snap off. Thin long and flat do not make for a sturdy design.

Perhaps it is built on a titanium blade or something. If it is plastic like it looks like, I would think the the added torque from the 30pin adaptor on one end and the phone on the other would sure be a recipe for bent or broken plug. It also appears that there is no permanent locking mechanism, just dimples on the edge that probably snap into spring detents in the phone.

The old connector was not so sturdy and was prone to breaking not only itself but the port on the device. Apple claims that one of the reasons for moving to the new smaller 8 signal connector was to provide a more robust connector. It is now an all digital connector as well with what Apple says has and adaptive signal flow, only the connections needed for the given accessory are used.

I agree with Courtney with the concern that the new connector when using the adapter may prove to be a real problem of durability. The writers at Macworld have said much the same:

"There’s also the concern, mentioned by a number of Macworld staffers around the office, that using an iPhone 5 with an older, 30-pin accessory risks putting a lot of pressure on both the phone’s Lightning port and the accessory’s dock connector thanks to the additional leverage added by the length of the adapter. We’ll see how warranted this concern is once we start testing the new phone and the adapters."

I think we'll have to wait and see,

post-1-0-85632500-1347636402.jpg

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When there's a huge solar energy spill, it's just called a "nice day."

•••• your host, Jeffrey S. Wexler, CAS

Yeah until all the communication satellites are knocked out and the power Grid goes down from excess radiation from a solar flare.

Then it's not such a "nice day" .

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I'm very curious about the new headphones, called Earpods. According to the video on the keynote a quite innovative design.

http://mashable.com/...pods-look-like/

Apple stores have the earpods already... unless they sold out. I'll wait till my iPhone5 arrives to try them, but the hands on reviews have been impressed.

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I don't know but that new 9 pin connector sure looks like it will be easy to snap off. Thin long and flat do not make for a sturdy design.

Perhaps it is built on a titanium blade or something. If it is plastic like it looks like, I would think the the added torque from the 30pin adaptor on one end and the phone on the other would sure be a recipe for bent or broken plug. It also appears that there is no permanent locking mechanism, just dimples on the edge that probably snap into spring detents in the phone.

I thought I read somewhere that it also uses magnets to keep it secure. We'll see how robust it is. It doesn't seem like engineers realize all the ways people abuse hardware. I did have some iPods not seat quite right after time and they would not stay connected when I was syncing. Never fatal, but annoying.

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I thought I read somewhere that it also uses magnets to keep it secure. We'll see how robust it is. It doesn't seem like engineers realize all the ways people abuse hardware. I did have some iPods not seat quite right after time and they would not stay connected when I was syncing. Never fatal, but annoying.

This fixed the connector problem for me :)

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Makers of iPhone accessories are likely to be ecstatic,

Oh yeah, we love it when sales drops off a cliff as rumors mount that the "old" connector is going to become obsolete, and everyone in the accessory industry tries to dump their inventory at low cost so they don't get caught with stuff they can't sell, then wait for several weeks after the new phone is announced for Apple and their connector manufacturing partner to get new parts available, and it takes more than a month for Apple to approve any new accessory that uses the new connector.

Have no doubt, the number one reason for this connector to exist is not "the old one was fragile", but "too many people were copying the connector, making product and not paying us for the privilege".

Tom.

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This thread reminded me of this article.

"The Wire

A good wireless lavalier kit goes for roughly four times the cost of an iPod touch, and suffers from radio interference and complexity. Build me a lapel mic that wires to an iPhone/iPod in my actor’s pocket and you just saved me endless headaches and hundreds of dollars.

Heck, I’ve never met an actor who didn’t have an iPhone. I’ll install the app on their phone and save a few more bucks. That way I can actually keep their data connection on, and your app can send recording levels and other reports to my phone, so I can monitor and control multiple mics on one touchscreen. Start and stop them all simultaneously with the push of a button (like GoPro already does with their pocket HD cameras). And let my intern log into the same account and tag the incoming audio files with slate info and other useful metadata, like the name of the character being recorded—all while we work."

http://prolost.com/b...revolution.html

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As far as I remember, Apple's iOS doesn't let you turn off phone functionality and leave data working (I guess you could put it in vibrate mode). GSM chatter will almost certainly break through at the worst time. You can't swap batteries before the shoot, "can I delete a few apps or songs so there's room for today's recordings".

You're going to love the comments back from Post, "none of these tracks line up, it looks like they were all recorded at subtly different speeds just nominally at 48kHz."

Great gadget, but nothing about it says "Pro".

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Have no doubt, the number one reason for this connector to exist is not "the old one was fragile", but "too many people were copying the connector, making product and not paying us for the privilege".

Oh no... are you one of those people who also believes that we never ACTUALLY landed on the moon?

;-)

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Oh yeah, we love it when sales drops off a cliff as rumors mount that the "old" connector is going to become obsolete, and everyone in the accessory industry tries to dump their inventory at low cost so they don't get caught with stuff they can't sell, then wait for several weeks after the new phone is announced for Apple and their connector manufacturing partner to get new parts available, and it takes more than a month for Apple to approve any new accessory that uses the new connector.

Have no doubt, the number one reason for this connector to exist is not "the old one was fragile", but "too many people were copying the connector, making product and not paying us for the privilege".

Tom.

Even next week there will still be millions and millions iPhones in use, let alone iPods. I have been using the same iPod classic in my car since 2004. The cables don't last as long as the iPod, or the car. *most* iPhone users are on a two year cycle, plus i am not sure the 4 and 4s are getting the lighting plug, even though they are still being manufactured and sold as the $99 or given away for free.

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Even next week there will still be millions and millions iPhones in use, let alone iPods. I have been using the same iPod classic in my car since 2004. The cables don't last as long as the iPod, or the car. *most* iPhone users are on a two year cycle, plus i am not sure the 4 and 4s are getting the lighting plug, even though they are still being manufactured and sold as the $99 or given away for free.

The Apple Marketing machine has everyone believing in "new and improved", and that the iPhone 4/4S are now the "old phones". Who wants to buy accessories for their "old" phone (that they are currently using, and plan to use for another ~12 months), when that accessory won't carry forward to the phone they really want. What was a simple choice (is it a cool thing to add on) becomes: But it won't work (or will look silly on the end of an adapter dongle) when I change phones - and that's WHEN, not IF.

iPod Touches have a certain resale life, but second hand iPhones have this weird problem where they are only of use to people who want to continue on the same wireless carrier as the seller had it on, aren't much of a discount, and are obviously out of warranty. Over the next few years there are going to be millions of iPhone 4 and 4s left in drawers because no one wants to buy them used.

At some point, the wireless frequencies that the older phones work on will be reassigned to newer technologies, and these older phones will go completely dark.

How much would you (as an end user) invest in a product where you know it's going to be obsolete within 2 years? Obsolete, meaning, some of its original features actually stopped working, not because it broke, but because it uses technology that is no longer supported.

Accessory makers have no choice but to target only the latest and greatest, because that's the only real market. There is no money to be made in the long tail for Apple products.

The bumper/case on my old (actually only 2009) iPod Touch 2nd generation wore out, so I tried to get a new one. Slim pickings, and what I ended up with was obviously dregs, poorly made because the mold was being used past its useful life.

I'm not sure where I'm heading with this, but suffice it to say, I'm not looking forward to a future where all our tools are based around a constantly changing hardware platform (or platforms) and there's no room for developing maturity or true reliability into them.

Tom.

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Of course Apple will promote what is new, car dealers have been doing that for 100 years. Apple IS pushing iOS6 to a lot of existing iPhones. They pushed it yesterday for free, before the new hardware went on sale. That might be enough to appease a lot of people by giving them most of the new software features.

I'm not sure how you are blaming Apple for your problems with the cell carriers.... and problems that will apply to every phone. Verizon had a "New every two" deal from about 2000 through 2011. It ended as they started selling iPhones actually.

How will phones stop working in 2 years? the 3G networks will still be running in two years. Verizon was still selling 3G phones this year, but this is the first year they only added new phones that had LTE.

The older iPhones are basically GSM or CDMA. The GSM phone will work on AT&T and T-Mobil, and the CDMA works on Verizon and Sprint. I don't know if the iPhone5 is universal or not. Verizon told me they will not do a 1 year contract for an iPhone. You are either locked in to that phone for 2 years, or you buy it for full retail ($600+, not unusual for a smart phone). Most every iPhone user is on a 2 year cycle. It's easy to sell those old phones on a site like Gazelle.com if you want. They also work on WiFi like an iPod Touch. I know a few people that have old AT&T iPhones they use without a data plan (just swap SIM cards), and all the data is done when on WiFi. Being in the city, there is tons of WiFi available, so they are using an (older style) iPhone for about $40/month. I have also been told a lot of people give their old iPhone to their kids to play games on, or just use it as the stunt double iPod.

What do you mean by accessories? 30pin to USB cables will be available for at least another 20 years from online sellers. I can find cables for my Apple IIe on ebay any day of the week. Stereos with a 30pin dock? Again, they are still making and selling iPhones, iPods, iPads with the 30pin. There are also multiple Apple made adapters (with 3rd party ones to follow). If you are upset about the future of those accessories, I would like to point out that while other smartphones use the universal micro-USB, there is nothing like the world of Apple accessories. The Android market has the use the headphone jack to get out audio, the microHDMI cable to get out video and the microUSB port to keep it charging. Messy.

As much as Google likes to promote that Android is roughly as popular as the iPhone, there are seriously 500 different Android handsets with completely different shapes. Apple used the 30pin for 9 years, and that's why it made sense for people to make iPod ready devices. As somebody with a (soon to be replaced) Droid, I can tell you there were never a lot of accessories for my phone. They stuff that existed was made by Motorola, and there is not enough of a market for there to be a lot of 3rd party options. That said, I do love the car dock. It took me a while to find somebody making something as useful for the iPhone.

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The earbuds, that accompany the Iphone 5, are a significant improvement on my 1st pass tryout. Case-way kewl, don't see rewrapping it regularly, but maybe-better than a fireman's curl, though. . Fit in my over-evolved ears-legions way, way better. Quick, non-critical listening, with; Fahl's- Una Furtiva Lagrima, LaMontagne's- You Can bring me Flowers & McNeely's Royal Scots'- Last Of The Mohigans, Weezer's-Say It ain't So, Liam Clancy's-The patriot Game & Usher's lemme see, pass the kit earbud test. far exceeding the 3G iteration (buds tested on Iphone 5). The placement of the jack on Home Button end of the phone works better in pocket, but the connection, for the jack itself seems a bit wonky, with the jack off...on a few occasions, while just doing simple Rumba Walks, letting alone anything Gangham. Siri's voice recognition, despite my dysphonic vocalization (one functioning vocal cord) was 99% right out of the box.

I did pick up two Iphone 5's today. Have to check the other's jack input connection later.

Thank you very much

Fury

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