The iPhone 5 announced today at Apple's big event will include a new dock connector called Lightning. We saw it often enough in the pre-show leaks, and is now fully official. It includes a new all-digital 8-signal design, has an adaptive interface, improved durability, reversible (i.e. usable from both ends), and is 80% smaller than the old dock connector.
As for all of those accessory manufacturers bashing their head against the table now, Apple will be providing an adapter which will allow old docks to plug into the new Lightning connector. That said, there are already a lot of big names already well on their way to making Lightning-compatible accessories, including Bose, JBL, B&W, and B&O. Whether or not this new cable is any faster or useful than the old one is anybody's guess, but at least it's smaller, and at this point, Apple really needs to save as much room as possible in their devices. In any case, let's pour one out for our old dock connector. It's been a good 9 years.
There's still lots more iPhone 5 stuff to catch up on, so stay tuned!