By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Apple is said to be moving to a smaller 19-pin port on its next iPhone, likely guaranteeing that the next iPhone won’t be able to dock with the installed base of millions of existing iPod docking speaker systems and other home-audio products — such as HTiBs, soundbars, and desktop stereo systems — that use the current Apple-approved 30-pin port.
Consumers who currently own such audio products and want to trade up to a new iPhone will be cursing Apple and home audio suppliers, while suppliers and retailers of iPod/iPhone-docking speakers curse Apple as inventories of incompatible audio products build up.
Having been burned again by Apple, suppliers of docking speakers, HTiBs and desktop audio systems will likely join home-A/V receiver suppliers and car audio suppliers in adopting iPod/iPhone-compatible USB ports on their devices for use with Apple-provided USB-to-multi-pin cable adapters.
This, of course, assumes that Apple won’t make electronic or electrical changes to the new multi-pin connector to prevent current audio products from charging the new iPhone or introducing other incompatibilities.
Perhaps the wisest course for audio suppliers will be to adopt wireless Apple AirPlay, which is of course more expensive for suppliers AND consumers, or adopt stereo Bluetooth, which is less expensive and compatible with any stereo Bluetooth mobile device, including Android smartphones.
Many docking-speaker suppliers have already added Bluetooth to their iPhone-docking speakers, although they did it to accommodate the majority of smartphone users who own Android phones.
Which brings up an ironic point.
Apple’s 19-pin move could drive frustrated docking-speaker suppliers to drop Apple pin connectors entirely and offer only Bluetooth speakers, cutting into Apple’s licensing revenues.
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