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According to Reuters' anonymous sources, the next iPhone to hit shelves may have a smaller cable interface with just 19 pins instead of the 30 found in traditional cables. The shrunken connector would be a significant change for the company as Apple has relied on its proprietary 30-pin design since 2003. This rumor falls in line with purported design leaks of the iPhone 5 and iPad mini earlier this month which illustrate the move to a smaller connector.
It's worth noting that while 30-pin dock connectors have been standard-issue since the third-gen iPod, some minor electrical changes have affected compatibility along the way. But the real reason for the redesign, according to Reuters, is due to Apple's relocation of the 3.5mm audio jack from the top to the bottom of the device.
The existing dock connector design has been criticized for being bulky and overly complicated. With portable devices becoming thinner and smaller, the timing might be right to ditch it all together and start from scratch. Unfortunately, doing so will almost certainly break compatibility with nearly a decade of genuine and third-party peripherals -- including car stereos -- so the redesign does not come lightly. There is currently no information regarding backwards compatibility with the use of adapters or converters.
In addition to shrinking iPad and iPod connectors, Digitimes reports that industry sources in Taiwan claim that production of the iPhone 5 is already underway. The timing seems right for a timely fall launch. For reference, the iPhone 4S was available for pre-order on October 7, 2011.
With the addition of the dock connector shrink, the next iPhone is conjectured to feature a larger 4-inch display with a movie-friendly 16:9 aspect ratio (previous models are 3:2) and may mark the return of an aluminum back -- a design element not seen since the original iPhone.
The iPhone 4S looks identical to last year's model but comes in a new 64GB flavor and upgrades the camera to include an 8-megapixel sensor with improved low-light performance and 1080p video capture. In terms of performance the new iPhone is reportedly up to 2x faster and is also capable of running on faster HSPA+ networks, reaching theoretical download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps.
The Apple iPad (3rd-gen) includes a Retina Display operating at a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536. Powering the new iPad is a dual-core A5X processor with quad-core graphics, it also gets upgraded optics in the form of a 5MP backside illuminated sensor that features a 5-element lens, IR filter and ISP built into the A5X chip. Apple claims The new iPad is good for 10 hours of battery life and nine hours when using 4G LTE.
The 13-inch MacBook Air models get a 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-2637M processor, 4GB of RAM, and either 128GB or 256GB of flash storage for $1,299 or $1,599, respectively. Configure to order options include a 1.8 GHz Core i7-2677M processor and additional flash storage, but unfortunately no discrete graphics, only the built-in HD 3000 from Intel.
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