Yesterday's iPhone 5 announcement brought a flurry of news, including the new reduced-size, reduced-pins, reduced-orientation-dependence Lightning connector. Lightning replaces the previous unbranded 30-pin connector, but in the process of losing a bunch of pins (down to 8), the port also lost a lot of possible functionality. At least out of the gate, that is.
Despite the lack of information on Apple's website, Apple has confirmed to The Verge that the all-digital Lightning connector will eventually regain HDMI-out and VGA-out thanks to new adapters, though they won't be available until "the coming months", which as any webOS user can tell you can be an interminably long time. Apple's Lightning-to-30-pin adapter doesn't support video out, only working to transfer power, USB data, and analog and USB audio.
With eight pins, the Lightning connector's options are fewer. Power takes two pins, USB takes two more pins, and analog audio takes at least two pins as well. But there's something that we've speculated about since the first leaking of the smaller port, and that's software switching. While the power pins on Lightning are likely hardwired, it's not hard to imagine that the other six pins are of the switchable type and can adapt to whatever's plugged into them to provide the appropriate signal (which would require additional authentication chips in the receiving device). Why not put this in the regular 'ole 30-pin adapter? Two problems: it'd be complicated and thus more expensive, and the current 30-pin connector is pretty dumb as far as communication is concerned, so the adapter wouldn't necessarily know what to tell the Lightning port on the matter of how to configure its software-switchable pins.
HDMI and VGA adapters are coming for the iPhone 5 and its Lightning connector. You won't have to rely on AirPlay, an Apple TV, and a wireless network if you don't want to. Eventually.
Source: The Verge