The first pictures of the flex cable components for Apple’s iPad Mini and iPhone 5 incorporating the new smaller dock connector have emerged.
The photograph, shared by French tech website nowhereelse.fr, shows two components, one of which is said to be similar to another apparently leaked picture of a part of the new iPhone.
As well as the new dock connector, the part also seems to take in the headphone jack and the home button connector for the hotly awaited devices.
In an attempt to ascertain the credibility of the leak, the French website asked Kyle Wiens of iFixit to give his opinion on the picture’s authenticity.
He confirmed that the component is indeed consistent with other Apple parts, but added that he wasn’t 100% certain that it was authentic.
One detail that has troubled Apple observers is that the headphone jack on the pictured component is located directly next to the dock connector.
Macrumours.com points out that so far case leaks, design drawings and physical mockups of Apple’s forthcoming devices have all so far suggested the headphone jack on the iPad Mini will by found along the top edge – as it is on the full-size iPad.
There was a public outcry when it was revealed that the next iPhone would get a new docking port connector.
The newer, slimline port means that thousands of current Apple accessories will need a potentially clunky adapter to work with the “iPhone 5” – or their devices will become unusable.
Leaks from the website iMore, which has strong sources “close to Apple”, earlier this month suggested the entire next generation of iDevices, including the iPod Nano, iPod Touch, iPad Mini and future versions of the iPad, will use the new port.
The site believes a special connector will be released to connect older accessories – such as docking stations and speakers – to newer versions of the range.
Many fans were left angry after images allegedly showing the iPhone 5’s new design leaked out, showing the traditional 30-pin dock connector – used for charging, syncing files and pumping audio to hi-fis – had been re-designed into a smaller shape.
The new port looks similar to micro USB, the standard supported by all other phone manufacturers – however it is very unlikely that Apple will support this standard, despite moves by the EU to get all phone companies to rally around one type of cable.
Apple’s version has a triangle-shaped wedge at one end, which should stop users plugging in the cable the wrong way round.
Mac fans may spot a superficial similarity to a Firewire port, which is used to transfer raw video footage and larger files at high speed.
The new port means older accessories will be rendered redundant unless adapters are released to make them compatible again – which is likely to be an ungainly solution, and may be impossible for some docks.
The “nano-SIM” slot, containing the SIM card which connects a phone to the carrier network, has also been redesigned to be thinner, although this will be unlikely to cause much disruption to users as networks will provide replacements SIMs if necessary.
There are also rumors, reported on iMore, that the iPad 3, which was released in the Spring, will get a slight tweak this Autumn to brink the dock connector in-line with the rest of the range.