Apple Working on 'Ultra Accessory Connector' for Made for iPhone Program [Updated]

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Apple is working on a new "Ultra Accessory Connector" that would be built into headphones and headsets certified under its Made for iPhone licensing program.

The connector, introduced as part of a developer preview as shared by 9to5Mac, features 8 pins and measures 2.05mm by 4.85mm, thinner and smaller than existing Lightning and USB-C ports.

The UAC is smaller than USB-C or Lightning, both pictured

According to Apple's Made for iPhone specifications for the Ultra Accessory Connector (UAC), it's designed to be used with headphone cables. Accessory manufacturers will be able to develop Lightning to UAC, USB-A to UAC, and 3.5mm jack to UAC cables, connecting to a UAC port built into an accessory for charging and audio purposes.

Such a port could perhaps be built into products like Beats headphones, which currently use micro-USB for charging purposes, and it could save internal space manufacturers could use for other components.

Why Apple has developed a new port rather than encouraging manufacturers to adopt USB-C or Lightning is unknown (there are already MFi specifications for Lightning ports), and it is also unclear if Apple will allow accessories beyond headphones to use the new Ultra Accessory Connector in the future.

Update: As Ars Technica points out, the "Ultra Accessory Connector" is a new name for an existing port that's already used in digital cameras and other accessories.

Apple told Ars Technica that the port has been added to the Made for iPhone program at the request of licensees, not because it is trying to push accessory makers to adopt a new type of connector.

Similarly, sources told The Verge that Apple has no plans of replacing Lightning or using this port on any of its devices -- it will be used as "an intermediary in headphone cables."

Article Link: Apple Working on 'Ultra Accessory Connector' for Made for iPhone Program [Updated]
 
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dannys1

macrumors 68030
Sep 19, 2007
2,635
4,764
UK
I'm sure most people will go nuts about this, but i'm all for a tiny charging connector as long as micro-USB and mini-USB both die, they along with USB-A are the worst three connectors ever designed.

(Although Scart was horrendous)
 

entropys

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2007
669
919
Brisbane, Australia
Why Apple has developed a new port rather than encouraging manufacturers to adopt USB-C or Lightning is unknown (there are already MFi specifications for Lightning ports), and it is also unclear if Apple will allow accessories beyond headphones to use the new Ultra Accessory Connector in the future.
Money. It makes it easier to charge a premium for accessories.

Ooh! And dongles!
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
34,066
35,076
Ultimately, this seems to create more confusion in some area's and gives options in others. I feel one primary option would be an easier solution for general purposes, to at least eliminate any distortion.
 

konqerror

macrumors 68020
Dec 31, 2013
2,298
3,688
I'm sure most people will go nuts about this, but i'm all for a tiny charging connector as long as micro-USB and mini-USB both die, they along with USB-A are the worst three connectors ever designed.

(Although Scart was horrendous)
I think you'll find that USB-C is not better. It is actually bigger than micro-USB, requires fine pins and tight tolerances (as I mentioned, one of my USB-C ports will not lock into one of my Apple cables... even Apple can't make them right), the cables require thick wires for charging support plus large number of data pairs, or else you have a confusing compatibility problems (you grab a random cable from home then realize it can't charge your Macbook Pro, or you plug in your external hard drive with the bundled Apple cable and only get USB 2.0 speeds). Now you find cheap Chinese vendors are cutting corners and making cables that cause hardware damage and fires.

It's a do-it-all standard with the inevitable expense and compromises.
 
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