Apple axing physical video out for iPhone 5 Lightning connector?
13th Sep 2012 | 19:23
New connector removes functionality
The eight-pin Lightning connector brings with it several advantages: for one thing, its smaller form means it takes up less space within the iPhone 5, which no doubt helped Apple jam more awesomeness into the new smartphone.
It's also more durable and works no matter which way it's plugged into the device, meaning no more fumbling around for the top side of the connector.
But like the iPhone 5, the new Lightning connector isn't perfect, and there's at least one feature missing that's sure to irk some people.
Making Apple TV and AirPlay a requirement
The existing, 30-pin Apple dock connector, in use since 2003, allowed for multiple forms of video-out from the iPhone 4S and past generations: to HDMI, to component (RGB/stereo audio), to standard AV (yellow video, stereo audio), and wirelessly using AirPlay and an Apple TV.
The iPhone 5, however, supports only the wireless video-out option.
The new iPhone can use Apple's AirPlay Wi-Fi tech to stream 1080p to a third-gen Apple TV or 720p to a second-gen device. Both devices can also mirror the iPhone 5's screen wirelessly at 720p.
The Lightning connector itself doesn't feature video-out on its list of supported functions, and the descriptions for the Lightning-to-30-pin adapter and cord explicitly state that they don't support video-out.
Apple could always introduce a peripheral solution down the line, but for now, it seems wireless is the only way to go, which could prove a hurdle for those used to simply plugging their iPhones in and streaming video the old-fashioned way.
In other Lightning news
Video-out isn't the only feature missing from the iPhone 5 to make way for Lightning. Apple also chose to once again not comply with European standards requirements that all phones carry a Micro-USB slot for charging.
Instead, Apple has announced that a Lightning-to-Micro-USB adapter will make the rounds at Apple stores (just like they've done in the past) for £15 or €19, according to current findings.
There's no evidence of the Lightning-to-Micro-USB adapter heading to North American shores.
Meanwhile, the other Lightning adapters have been priced: Lightning-to-30-pin is $29, and one with an 8-inch cable is $39. The standard Lightning-to-USB charging cable that will come packed with Lightning-compatible devices is $19.
Those prices may seem steep, but as Apple's Senior VP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller explained in an interview on Wednesday, "This is the new connector for many years to come."
TechRadar has reached out to Apple for comment, but the company has yet to respond.