HDMI- and VGA-out adapters coming for Lightning port

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. 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

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

Derek Kessler

Managing Editor of Mobile Nations, Army musician, armchair pundit, and professional ranter.

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Reader comments

HDMI- and VGA-out adapters coming for Lightning port

9 Comments

I can't help wondering if this isn't a deliberate move by Apple to promote just the scenario in your last paragraph above. A promise that the functionality will return eventually, but in the meantime, "Hey! Why not buy an apple TV while you wait!!".

Thanks, Derek, that's good news!

BTW: It's been good to see you posting here, lately! I switched from webOS when the 4S came to Sprint last year, and I sure miss you guys over at webOS Nation...not to mention the unsurpassed UI of webOS phones! But, alas, the iPhone is King, no doubt about it.

I am a bit disappointed in this connector design. I had been hoping that Apple would make this iteration a magsafe connector, similar to the macbooks. There is probably some good technical reason not to do it that way, but it would be WAY more convenient and less likely to get snapped off.

I was thinking the same thing (snapped off), though the connector does look kind of thick relative to it's size... hopefully it is somewhat tough. I'd certainly rather have the 'cable' like adapters (like shown in this article's pic) rather than the huge 'card-like' adapters. (The one Apple has been showing the most looks like an accident waiting to happen!)

You know what I find? Apple will come out with some new thing, like this 8 pin plug, leaving everyone wondering about one thing or other. Usually contemplating worst case scenarios. People will then panic, and with good reason because from what I've noticed, Apple, once they've had their keynote, goes into hiding until the next keynote. No explanation. No one to answer questions. And good luck getting any help on their website. Because another issue I've noticed is that it's almost impossible to get a hold of an actual person. And when ever I have a question, it's never one of the "frequently asked questions". Never! Come on Apple, you're supposed to be better than this.