Talk of the iPhone 5’s new Lightning cable and its associated adapter is threatening to become this year’s “antennagate.” Confusion reigns as future iPhone 5 owners question whether they’ll be able to use their already-purchased accessories with the new device, or if the adapter’s limitations will scupper that plan.
Apple hasn’t helped by saying neither video or iPod-out is supported by the adapter, along with the disclaimer that “some 30-pin accessories are not supported,” but without adding any much needed detail.
To see if audio dock manufacturers were expecting any problems, we contacted a few of the big names for comment.
A representative from iHome, North America’s number one maker of iPod speaker systems, said “The Apple Lightning to 30-pin adapters will support audio and charging with iHome docking stations.”
Good news there, then.
Gear4, who along with a wide-range of regular docks, also produces the licensed Angry Birds docks, provided more detail, with a representative telling us “based on our understanding of the specification of the adapter, it appears that most or all of our products should work with the new iOS devices through the adapter.” This will include speakers that are “app-enabled,” and the forthcoming Renew SleepClock, that can monitor sleep patterns.
Regarding the Gear4 docks that don’t use a 30-pin connector but Bluetooth and AirPlay instead, the USB charging port on the rear is compatible with the Lightning cable and will charge attached devices as normal.
We’ve contacted JBL and Bose for comment too, and will update with their responses.
Gizmodo claims that the lack of iPod-out compatibility will be more of an issue for those who connect their iPhones and iPods to in-car entertainment systems, where apps that previously integrated with the system may no longer do so, and standard-fit controls may not operate the device either.
As for the video out problem, Apple may have a solution, but it’ll involve buying another set of cables. The Verge reports that an Apple representative told them Lightning to HDMI and Lightning to VGA cables would arrive in “the coming months.” If AirPlay’s not an option for you, then it looks like it’ll be best to wait for the new cables rather than splash out on an adapter.
Unfortunately, concrete answers to questions regarding the Lightning adapter may have to wait until the iPhone 5 and new iPods go on sale, and owners get to test it out when the adapter is released in October. Judging by what we’ve heard from manufacturers so far, it may not be as much of a problem as many feared.