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iPhone 5 could function as a USB Host with Lightning Connector

Apple Lightning Connector

apple lightning connector One of the biggest changes in Apple’s iPhone 5 is the transition from the 9 year old 30-pin Dock Connector used on many iOS devices today, to the new reversible Lightning Dock Connector.

The new Lightning Dock Connector format will allow Apple gadgets to support USB host capabilities, which will please many critics who find the iOS platform to be both restricted and limiting.

With iPhone 5, Apple made a lot of big and bold changes. One of these improvements was the adoption of a smaller dock connector that Apple calls, “Lightning”. Probably the coolest physical feature of the new Lightning connector, (besides the size), is that it’s reversible. So no more annoying moments trying to jam the cable into your device the wrong way.

USB Host, which was previously only supported on the iPad with the Camera Connector Kit, would allow the iPhone 5 to connect to USB Flash Drives, DSLR Cameras, Keyboards, Game Controllers, and other input devices with the appropriate driver support.

Up until now only the iPad had been able to support USB Hosting – and in a limited way at that. The only way you could do it was with a 30-pin Dock and an adapter that only works to push photos from your third party camera to your tablet.

Macotakara, a Japanese Blog that discusses Apple products, reported that a new Lightning Connector will soon be released by Apple with the ability to work as a USB host. With this feature it would be possible for users to use essentially any accessory with the Apple devices that you can connect with a USB cord, including keyboards, cameras and MIDI controllers.

This new rumor will definitely stay afloat until officials at Apple either confirm or deny the Lightning USB host possibility. If the Lightning connector does actually let you connect USB devices through a USB host with the iPhone 5, iPod Touch and iPod Nano, then we’ll soon see whole new kinds of accessories for a variety of uses in the near future. This also opens up many doors for those elite few dedicated to hacking new Apple devices – not exactly Apple’s favorite fans, but it is what it is.

USB Hosting is a powerful feature that’s already seen support on select Android smartphones and tablets, including the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 10.1.

The feature could make the new iPod Touch and iPhone 5, which have grown from a 3.5 inch screen to a 4 inch display, to be a powerful tool for people in that work out in the field. In particular, photographers would be able to transfer photographs from a camera through a Lightning to USB adapter or Lightning to SD card adapter, similar to the iPad Camera Connecter Kit, so that they can download, upload and edit their images from the iPhone or iPod Touch.

Here are the details from Macotakara:

    “Apple announced that their new dock connector “Lightning” has been re-designed as fully digital device. Farmer Dock connector has long developing history, it started as analog communicating connector, and had been gradually digitized by each generation.

    Because Apple has dozen of iPod’s, old Dock should be designed carefully with optimizing amplifier sound and digital output, and 3rd party faces compatibility issues. Now Lightning makes 3rd party to be easier for developing sound accessories.

    Since old Dock connector regulation supports 3 types of accessories as charging, serial and device, new Lightning supports additionally hosting USB devices.”

If this rumor turns out to actually be true, then iPhone 5 users will have a whole new playing field to manipulate, transfer and download their data with. Previously, only the iPad has been able to work as a USB host but that feature was severely limited and was mostly used for transferring photos between devices. Using the Lightning Connector as a USB Host mean that practically any USB device with any function can be connected with a USB cord to your iPhone 5, iPod Touch or iPod Nano.

The Lightning Connector is an 8 pin connector that will replace the old 30 pin connectors that have been used on Apple Products like the iPhone and iPod since 2003. The iPhone 5, alongside the new iPod Touch and iPod Nano were the first iOS devices to adopt this connector.

Basically with the current Lightning Connector you have Lightning on one end and USB male on the other. This lets you connect with your PC and other devices that exist as USB hosts.

If Apple really has included USB Host functionality with the Lightning Connector, the very last thing you’d need is an official Apple accessory to make it all work seamlessly – or at least a third party accessory that would do the same thing. Here an example:

Apple has already planned a number of new Lightning Cable accessories, the most popular which is ironically is a 30-pin to Lightning Dock Adapter. So readers, what do you think about all this? Will Apple open the door to a new wave of accessories that already work with massive amounts of mobile devices?

As of right now, Apple has not publicly promoted nor dismissed USB host capabilities on their devices. It will be interesting to see what type of third party hardware makers will do with the standard and if any jailbreak features will be enabled once hackers break through the iPhone 5 with iOS 6.


Vincent Clarke

Vincent Clarke

Vincent graduated from the University of Hawaii in 2007 with a Bachelors in English. Vincent works as a writer and enjoys surfing and mountain climbing. Connect with Vincent on Google+ About Myself

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