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WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY / CABLES

Booming Dock Market Comes Up With Answers To iPhone5 Lightening Connector

By David Richards | Sunday | 16/09/2012

The booming dock market that was thrown a curved ball last week with the launch of new connectors for the iPhone5 believe they have answers to the introduction of an all new eight-pin Lightning connector.

Apple's planned compact Lightning-to-30-pin adapter will incorporate a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) Apple has confirmed. The adapter will convert the new Apple devices' digital audio output to analog for playback by docking tabletop-audio systems whose 30-pin connectors capture analog audio from Apple devices.

This will allow home A/V receivers and aftermarket car stereos equipped with Made for iPod/iPhone-certified USB ports to stream music from USB-connected Apple devices industry executives have said.

Yamaha president Tom Sumner told Twice in the USA that most docking speaker systems pull analog audio through their 30-pin connectors, so the inclusion of a DAC in the adapter is critical for current owners of docking speakers. For many premium docking speakers systems, however, the inclusion of a DAC isn't crucial because, like Yamaha's, they capture Apple-device output in digital PCM form through their 30-pin connectors, Sumner said.

The only remaining issues for tabletop audio devices would be the physical stability of the Apple devices when docked and the space available on the docking system to accommodate the adapter, Sumner said.

"My only questions would be the stability of the iPhone — it looks as if it would sit a bit high on some speaker docks — and the width of the adapter — if it will fit in all docks," Sumner said. "We'll check it with Yamaha docks when we can get our hands on one to make certain it works."

Bang & Olufsen plans to make available an eight-pin connector module that replaces a 30-pin connector module in its $1,800 BeoPlay A8 docking-speaker system.

The company said it is developing new docking speakers that will also be compatible with the iPhone 5.

Bose is developing an eight-pin module to accept the iPhone 5 and new iPods, but the company didn't want to talk on the issue on Friday.

In the home, iPhone 5 users won't be able to play back video stored on the new Apple devices though the handful of docking audio systems that transfer iOS-device video to a connected TV. That's because the docking audio systems accept analog video from current Apple devices but won't accept the digital video output of the new Apple devices.

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