AMITIAE - Friday 9 January 2015

Cassandra: New Lightning Port Audio Devices at CES - Pathfinders for iPhone

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


When a new iPhone is expected, the amount of speculation in the press and elsewhere about what the new device will be, is astounding. And in the main, it is misleading. Perhaps some of the ideas are misguided. Almost some are seeded to create misinformation and some damage, especially when the device itself disappoints on release because it did not have a particular feature that some said was a certainty.

One learns not to bet on Apple, although there are some interesting clues dropped on occasion that might lead to product evolution in a specific way.

Recent speculation on a MacBook Pro generated much traffic. The article I first saw was by Mark Gurman on 9to5 Mac. The artist's mockup - supposedly using ideas leaked from Apple at the time of CES - has potential, particularly in the way that ports could be reduced: the idea being there would be a sole Thunderbolt connection. If this were not used for charging, a MagSafe connector (current or redesigned) might be used too. With Apple design esthetics, I would expect a power connector on the left and a Thunderbolt port to the right (or vice versa).

More interesting for those who like to consider the iPhone was news that at CES this year, both JBL and Philips have produced audio devices that use the Lightning connector. Both Sam Oliver on AppleInsider and Jordan Kahn on 9to5 Mac, comment about Apple opening up its specifications last year.

connectors and ports

At the time, the idea produced considerable speculation that Apple would be doing away with the audio-in port and relying solely on the Lightning connector for the iPhone 6. That made a lot of sense to me, but it did not happen and we still have the standard ear buds.

With other manufacturers now in the market with products that connect via the port, Apple outmaneuvers the critics that would crawl out of the woodwork if that were to have happened.

connectors and ports

If the use of the Lighting port for its iOS devices does happen, the number of connections would be reduced and another evolution to Apple's clean external shapes would be possible, without the cries from the pundits about users being left in the lurch.

For those older devices that still require the audio port; as has happened in previous cases when there have been such changes, an adapter could be developed.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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