One of the biggest concerns I’ve had about Apple’s new Lightning port is the perceived (or real) obsolescence of a whole constellation of iPod 30-pin compatible devices. Now that fear seems confirmed. As we learned today, the Lightning to 30-pin adapter comes with an important caveat: “Video and iPod Out not supported.” This means thousands, if not millions, of devices will become e-waste.
But are we sure these adapters won’t work?
I reached out to a major iPod dock company this morning and got a reply that should disconcert anyone with a dock in their home. The company rep, who will remain nameless, wrote back:
This company makes some of the best-known docks in the market, and I sincerely doubt they aren’t aware of these compatibility issues at this late date. Yet this answer is troubling: If these guys don’t know what’s up with Lightning, who does?
Commenters elsewhere are noting that “iPod out” is not the same as audio out, but even so, this does leave some accessories out in the cold. That manufacturers still have to wait to confirm compatibility is the real problem here: hopefully they’d know by now.
We probably won’t know much about Lightning architecture until devices are in users’ hands, and arguably Apple isn’t at fault here. They’re pushing their technology forward as any sane company would. But what we have here is a Schrödinger’s cat of port technology and I’m leaning toward the cat being dead.