The latest evidence that Apple is ready to abandon its iconic dock connector in favor of a smaller solution comes in the form of a reference to a 9-pin connector in the code for iOS 6 beta.
The code string was uncovered by 9to5Mac and directly conflicts with several other reports of the possible size of a smaller dock connector. Reports of the number of pins in the new dock connector have ranged from as few as 8 to as many as 19 (or simply retaining the 30 it currently sports).
Important to keep in mind is the fact that iOS 6 is still in beta, which means code strings can be added and taken out on a whim as Apple and developers continue to test the software. Whether the code, 00002d9c t_copyDeviceSupports9Pin, means that Apple is ready to ship an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (Mini?), or any other iOS device with a smaller dock connector is left up to speculation.
It is likely, though, that Apple is, at the very least, testing a device that has a smaller dock connector.
A new dock connector would be a major change for Apple's mobile devices and for manufacturers that produce cases and dock connector-compatible devices. Should Apple switch to a smaller dock connector? If Apple does ship the new iPhone with a smaller dock connector, should it include a dock connector adapter to support 30-pin devices? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!