Could Apple really be looking to end their longstanding affair with the 30-pin Dock Connector? It’s been a move that’s been rumored for years, and a job opening at Cupertino for a Connector Design Engineer adds a bit of fuel to that fire.
This person will be “responsible for managing multiple connector designs and developments in support of the iPod product lines.” It goes on to describe that this task will “involve adaptation of existing connectors or complete new designs.” It’s apparently important enough to Apple that they’ve got another, very similar listing on their jobs page.
It sounds like Apple isn’t just looking for a new lead engineer — Apple could be looking for a new iDevice interface.
The Dock Connector has lived a good life. Introduced in 2003 with the third generation iPod, the Dock Connector has been a trusted consort in the Apple army. But it’s time for retirement. Smaller, more compatible interconnects are more than capable of providing the power and a data connection. A MicroUSB-equipped iPhone might make Steve Jobs roll in his grave, but it would also make millions of users rejoice in the name of a universal connection.
As I’ve mentioned, people have been forecasting the death of the Dock Connector for years now. The reasoning is almost always the same: the sheer size of the Dock Connector is hindering Apple’s design. If Apple moved to something smaller, such as a Mini Dock Connector or even MicroUSB, this would allow for a larger range of designs. But Apple has yet to make the switch. That might change with the iPhone 5, though.
One of the leading iPhone 5 rumors, along with a significantly bigger screen, involves a new interconnect. Recent leaked iPhone 5 photos supposedly show what appears to be a MicroUSB port at the bottom of the device instead of the traditional Dock Connector. There have also been whispers of a MagSafe-like connector as well.
Even without this job posting, it’s pretty much accepted that the Dock Connector is nearing the end of its life. Even though there are better options, it will still be sorely missed. Just think of all the iDevice docks that will fall silent when their owners upgrade to the latest hardware — well, unless, Apple releases a pricey Dock Connector to Mini Dock Connector adapter.
[Hat tip to Wolfgang Bremer, CCO of Founder2be.com]