Lightning connector and USB3.0

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Menel, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    Several have voiced disappointment that Apple didn't have foresight for USB3.0. I didn't have time to respond and can't find thread, Im not saying this is what they did, just that its plausible.

    dual sided 8pin lightning (technically 16) example pinout 1
    Gnd tx1 rx1 5v. 5v. rx2 tx2 gnd
    Gnd tx3 rx3 5v. 5v. Rx4 tx4 gnd
    Reversible, 8 digital signal lines, 4 sets of differential pairs like USB3.0. Obviously it would still require new cables with usb3.0 compliant A connectors.
  2. lorax3 macrumors regular


    Jun 25, 2007
    Interesting. You may want send this to ifixit. Assuming there are not too many proprietary issues, they would be willing to make a usb3 to lightning cable to see if it works.
  3. Menel thread starter macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    Thats not exact because I don't know, just one plausible example of many.

    There are several variants of that pinout which would get the job done. Also the controller inside the iPhone would have to support USB3.0, which is probably not the case.

    My point is they could upgrade for it in future iPhone 5S/6 etc without changing lightning connector.
  4. rritterson macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2008
    DC USA
    They will have to change it somewhat, as, although the male end has 16 pins in total (2x8), the current female ends are only pinned on one side.
  5. boomhower macrumors 68000


    Oct 21, 2011
    Most of what I've read has said the memory used in the iPhone isn't fast enough to take advantage of faster USB 3. The 16GB is the worst offender with it getting faster the higher capacity you get due to more chips being used.
  6. mackmgg macrumors 65816


    Nov 2, 2007
    Lightning only supports 8-pins though. The reason there are 16-pins is to make it reversible so it doesn't matter which way you plug it in.
  7. Menel, Sep 16, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012

    Menel thread starter macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    Correct, not denying that, that and cost is why they didn't do it now... Im saying down the road, its plausible they could upgrade. It would take roughly 3 things: updated iPhone flash memory, updated iPhone Lightning connector transceivers, and an updated cord with a USB3 compliant USB A connector.

    But the new Lightning connector and dock themselves would not have to change.
    And these iPhone5 Lightning to USB2 cables would still work at non-superspeed.

    Get ready to buy some superspeed Lightning to USB3.0 cables in the next 1-3 years ;-)
  8. Menel thread starter macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    It has to support more than 8pins, it has to be a 16pin connector.

    Proof is in the keynote. "All digital, 8-signal design"

    If all 8pins are digital signals, and the shell is reference frame ground, that would work for data, but you couldn't charge the phone. Where is the 5V line? Not feasible.

    See my original post for one example of how an 8 digital signal, 4 pair of differential signal design might work.

    Attached Files:

  9. ankh macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2003
    ready to buy some superspeed Lightning to USB3.0 cable

    I'm ready now, does such a thing exist yet?

    Wondering if there's any way to get better speed from an external USB3 drive case, vs. using the USB2 port on a recent Macbook.
  10. Kyotoma macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2010
    Carnegie and Ontario
    Here's the pinout of the Lightning connector off of Wikipedia. I do like your theory of how they can improve upon it, however:


    Pin 1 GND ground
    Pin 2 L0p lane 0 positive
    Pin 3 L0n lane 0 negative
    Pin 4 ID0 identification/control 0
    Pin 5 PWR power (charger or battery)
    Pin 6 L1n lane 1 negative
    Pin 7 L1p lane 1 positive
    Pin 8 ID1 identification/control 1
    Two differential pair lanes (L0p/n and L1p/n) may swap in IC of device connector (lanes don't swap if accessory identification chip connect to ID0 pin)

  11. Menel thread starter macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    That's good info. Wasn't available when discussed before. Pin4/8 ID lines are a good discovery.

    Granted, this all ONLY deals with the authentication chip as it operates now.

    My theory for future enhancement for USB3, lies on GUESSWORK. That they would change the female phone connector, to a 16pin design.

    The cable would be different. The Lightning side would be physically the same, though the authentication chip would be updated to handle all 16 pins independently. And the USB host side, would be updated for a blue USB3 connector.

    This wouldn't have to effect backwards compatibility.

    Then the 'new' authentication chip would assign 8 signal pins, 4 sets of differential pairs.

    Maybe this will happen next year with iPhone 6? *shrug*.

    In this perfect world (which we don't know is even possible, just theoretically). Old lightning cables would still work, just at USB2 speed. And the new cables would work on old phones, just at USB2 speed.

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