Could Apple drop the iPhone dock connector port next year?

With less than two months until September, and reports appearing that Apple has placed a major order for a new iPhone, it’s looking likely that an update is coming for Apple’s smartphone range. Whether it’s going to be classed as an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5, we don’t know.

There’s been a lot of speculation as to how radical a design change the iPhone 5 will be, and while talk of a tapered back is being heard, the smart money is on a refining of the iPhone 4′s design. That means using a larger edge-to-edge display and slimming down the thickness of the device as much as is feasible. Inside, there will be an updated processor, most likely an A5, more RAM, and improved graphics performance.

That would be my best guess if someone asked. As to what Apple has planned for next year, a handset we must call the iPhone 6 for now, it looks like they may be planning another radical change to simplify the design further, but not in a way you’d initially expect

An article written by Lorraine Luk for the Wall Street Journal briefly mentions Apple investigating new ways to charge phones. As far as we know there are only two such ways: using a cable or not. As all iPhones to date use a cable to charge, it makes sense that Apple is investigating wireless charging solutions and induction charging.

As this is Apple and design always comes first, we should view this as more than just a new way of charging. The company will also be considering it as a way to remove the need for a cable at all.

The two things an iPhone needs a cable for is charging and data transfer/syncing with iTunes. If Apple adopts an induction charging system for the iPhone 6, that only leaves data for the cable. But a wireless alternative to that is already coming with iOS 5 , iCloud and iTunes Match. In other words, Apple could drop the cable next year and therefore potentially the docking connector port on the iPhone too.

Whether that happens depends on if wireless charging can perform well enough to charge an iPhone in a few hours starting with a dead battery. It will also have to work without adding bulk to the phone otherwise Apple would certainly reject it and wait for the tech to mature further.

The big question is, would Apple consider removing the port completely from the iPhone? From a design point of view it is certainly desirable as it would allow for a cleaner case design. There would also be a cost saving from not having to ship a cable with every phone, and a weight saving on shipping. But there would be upset from consumers who’s plug-in peripherals and accessories would no longer work, and manufacturers of those add-ons, although there’s an opportunity to sell new, wireless versions. It would also be a big leap to expect everyone to rely on wireless only.

Would Apple drop wired connections if it meant a better overall look for its smartphone? If they can make it work to Apple’s high standards, I wouldn’t bet against it happening.

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