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Rumor: Apple's iOS dock ports headed for a diet

The dock on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod could be getting a big or, rather, little makeover soon, if a new rumor is to be believed.

Apple's latest iOS plug, not all that different technology-wise from the first 30-pin dock plug.
Apple's latest iOS plug, not all that different technology-wise from the first 30-pin dock plug. CNET

What's one thing that's basically stayed pretty much the same throughout the entire lifespan of iOS devices? The dock port.

But that could change soon, according to a new report. iMore says that Apple is on the cusp of switching to a smaller version as part of a move to save space and make room for other components in its portable devices.

How soon that change is headed to a device is as unclear as ever though. iMore suggests it won't be the next iPad, but could be the next iPhone.

This is not the first such mention of Apple moving to a smaller dock connector standard, a move that would cause a considerable shake-up in the world of third-party gadgets with built-in dock connectors. A report from Japanese Apple-centric blog Macotakara in October claimed that the company was working on a miniaturized dock that would feature the same number of pins and make it into Apple's next iPad.

For its part, Apple has miniaturized the external parts that connect to the dock since the early days of the iPod jumping from Firewire to the 30-pin adapter. That includes shrinking down the power adapter, as well as the connector part itself, which used to feature two latches to keep it attached, and has since moved to the simpler plug pictured above.

As iMore points out, it's Apple's modus operandi to break with traditions (and in some cases, standards) in the name of progress. That includes ditching floppy and optical drives on its computers. For the ports it has kept around, those have played the shrinking game, including the display out adapters on its Mac portables--a source of aggravation to those who needed to buy new adapters, but now we have Thunderbolt, a plug that doubles as pipe for data too.

If, in fact, this turns out to be true and headed to the iPad, we could know very soon. Apple is rumored to be holding a special eventin the first week of March to take the wraps off the next generation of the device.