An updated “micro dock” would make room for bigger batteries, 4G radios, and other components far more important to the iPhone and iPad in a PC free world.
Apple getting ready to ditch the traditional iPhone, iPad, and iPod dock connector | iMore
iMore and others have been speculating that the 30-pin dock connector on the iPhone/iPad is ripe for a downsizing, partially justified on the basis that the socket robs precious space internally that could be used for other more ‘valuable’ components, such as improve battery, storage or communications.
I’d agree that those a strong driving forces, but don’t see Apple going half-measures should they decide the time is right to change. The mini or micro-USB connectors may save space, but they are a fiddle to connect. The 30-pin connector, whilst it still needs orienting correctly seems to slip into place intuitively by comparison. You also have the massive Eco-system of accessories that would largely become incompatible with a change of connector.
My belief is that Apple will discard the dock connector in the near future. Maybe not with the imminent iPad 3, but possibly later this year with the iPhone 5.
Ok you say, but what about syncing and charging?
Syncing – iCloud is the future here, or at least the concept of wireless syncing, via wifi, Bluetooth or an as-yet-unannounced wireless technology. The iPad and iPhone are now PC-free devices, and iCloud goes a long way to providing the conduit through which you PC based data gets to the I-Devices, and iTunes via wireless takes care of the rest.
Charging – I don’t think we are yet in the age of wirefree charging, but Apple already have the technology to provide idiot proof wired charging – the MagSafe adapter as featured on the MacBook products. Whilst the physical dimensions would change for the iOS devices the concept would be the same – orientation neutral and magnetised alignment. Still a compatible concept for any docking station accessories. It would also make if easier to make the devices water-resistant, and for accessories to extend the charging interface through any enclosure.
The downsides to a connection with no data? Slower sync speeds over USB perhaps, and some third-party accessories rely on the fact that additional input methods can be conveyed over the 30-pin connector, but almost if not all of these could be replaced with Bluetooth links, as long as latency is low enough.
Wireless data and socket less charging is going to be the next design goal for Apple, not a miniaturised connector.