Apple's Lightning Digital AV Adapter is a Full-Fledged Computer

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    [​IMG]


    Panic, the developers behind apps like Coda and Transmit, spent some time disassembling the Lightning Digital AV cable that allows iOS devices like the iPad mini and the iPhone 5 to output HDMI to televisions.

    The company discovered that, like its Lightning to 30-pin brethren, the Digital AV adapter is considerably more complicated than it would appear. Among other discoveries, Panic found an ARM chip and 256MB of RAM inside.

    [​IMG]
    Panic conjectures that for some reason the Lightning port isn't capable of outputting raw HDMI -- something that should give an extremely high quality image -- and instead uses a form of AirPlay to output video, delivering a lower quality video signal.

    Update: Panic highlights this comment from an anonymous reader hinting at being an Apple engineer, which offers more details about how the adapter works and indicating that code updates are being made to improve the video quality.
    Article Link: Apple's Lightning Digital AV Adapter is a Full-Fledged Computer
     
  2. SPEEDwithJJ macrumors 65816

    SPEEDwithJJ

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    #2
    That is cool! It is amazing how much tech they managed to put inside such a small adapter. :eek:
     
  3. KiwiAdventure Suspended

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    #3
    By the picture they spent no time at all hacking the component out :cool:
     
  4. Fatalbert macrumors 6502

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    #4
    256MB?!??!?!?!!
    That's how much RAM my iMac G5 had.
     
  5. designaholic macrumors regular

    designaholic

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    #5
    The same amount of RAM as my first Mac... nuts! :eek:
     
  6. LimeiBook86 macrumors 604

    LimeiBook86

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    Does their comment at the end mean that the video output quality is poor? That would be disappointing. Especially considering the cost of such an adapter.
     
  7. Baklava macrumors 6502a

    Baklava

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  8. neven macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    That's indeed true. Would it have changed anything if we had? :)
     
  9. commander.data macrumors 65816

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    Kind of sad that the 4th gen iPod Touch that they still sell for $199 and up only has as much RAM as an AV Adapter.
     
  10. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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  11. womble2k2 macrumors regular

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    2 quick thoughts;

    The processing power is likely to be greater than the original Apple Mac computer.

    The reason you normally do things in software is to either cut costs (customised ASICs are not cheap!), or to enable future changes, bug fixes or performance improvements. Are Apple simply thinking ahead to developments such as 4K, 4K 3d?
     
  12. lostngone macrumors 65816

    lostngone

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    Listen sonny!

    Back in my day the only thing our cables had in them was Lead and Copper, and that is how we liked it!!!
     
  13. macsrcool1234 macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Yet more proof that lightning is a junky and expensive connector. 2013 and can't output 1080p?

    This is the year of the Android.
     
  14. PracticalMac macrumors 68030

    PracticalMac

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    #14
    I am beginning to wonder if Apple is taking a loss for each Lighting cable they produce!
     
  15. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601

    OrangeSVTguy

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    #15
    Funny how simple adapters are more complex and probably faster than computers from a decade ago :D

    10 years from now, We'll probably need a 12 core 64GB Thunderbolt 4.0 cable.
     
  16. TMar macrumors 68000

    TMar

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    #16
    My god take a moment to un-solder those shields.
     
  17. tevion5 macrumors 68000

    tevion5

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    #17
    Still a little more than my 512Ke :p

    ----------

    no
     
  18. genovelle macrumors 6502a

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    Isn't this an apple fan site?!!! Why are you here instead enjoying the company of your brethren on an android site?
     
  19. sambredeson macrumors newbie

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    #19
    How long until someone manages to hack this into a fully-fledged mini-PC??
     
  20. Chabba, Mar 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2013

    Chabba macrumors regular

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    #20
    New expensive adapter, can't do 1080p and has video artifacts? ******

    Older, cheaper adapter can do clear artifact-free 1080p, not ******.
     
  21. BC2009 macrumors 68000

    BC2009

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    #21
    Tell me when somebody gets XBMC running on it. It already has the video output port -- just need to connect a hard drive to the lightning side.
     
  22. ikramerica macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Agreed. Lightning is a horrible adapter. It's not meant to benefit the consumer, but to shift extra cost onto the consumer. In order to make the iPhone lighter and thinner (something not demanded by the customer, but by marketing), they took out most of the onboard processing of video, audio, etc. But they didn't cut the cost of the unit.

    The lightning connector could easily have been twice as wide with the same utility, the same ability to flip it, etc., and then the phone could be doing the processing, we would still have analog audio and video out, and HDMI out. But Apple wanted to cut corners and screw over customers in the process.

    Lightning is just one of the negatives of the iPhone 5, but I'm stuck with mine.
     
  23. Rocketman macrumors 603

    Rocketman

    #23
    That's very "embedded device and OS" cool. I was configuring a brand new HP all-in-one printer to an old PowerBook OSX 10.5.x since the printer came with a spanking new iMac. The computer downloaded the driver from the printer!.

    I live in a new age.

    My takeaway isn't any of the ones you guys had. To me this indicates that 2-3 generations from now there will be an IC with all that stuff in about 4x4x4 mm. This is the iWatch prototype! Manufacturing testing with customer development and feedback.

    Just Rocketman
     
  24. jontech macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Going to try my 30 Pin to HDMI connected to the 30 pin to Lightening.....


    Wish me luck lol
     
  25. Fruit Cake macrumors 6502a

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