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Phones

No, iPhones aren't dropping Lightning connectors. Here's what that UAC story really means.

Several blogs reported that Apple was developing a new "Ultra Accessory Connector" (UAC) that's smaller than USB-C and Lightning, but Apple says it isn't new at all.

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Apple's alleged new connector is an old off-the-shelf connector used with such products as Nikon cameras.

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Apple blog 9to5Mac reported today that Apple was planning a "new smaller Ultra Accessory Connector (UAC) for Made-for-iPhone accessories," which created a small uproar in the blogosphere. Another Apple connector? There's Lightning for iPhones and iPads, and USB-C for Macs. Why do we need another connector, and a potentially proprietary one at that? Aren't we already using too many dongles?

But hold on. Apple told CNET that the alleged new connector isn't new at all and has been around for years and used with such products as Nikon cameras. The problem is it doesn't have a standard name. Foxlink calls that Nikon connector the UC-E6 while Mitsumi calls it the Ultra Mini Connector. To help standardize the name, Apple said it dubbed it the "Ultra Accessory Connector." So, new name, but not a new connector.

Apple is simply supporting the off-the-shelf connector as part of its MFi ("Made for iPhone") certification program. Companies don't need to use the connector, but it's one Apple will support in the program, Apple told CNET.

9to5Mac reported that "Apple will allow accessory manufacturers to make Lightning to UAC, USB-A to UAC, and 3.5mm headset jacks to UAC, which would allow headphones with a UAC port to connect to various Apple devices."

That part of the article is accurate, CNET confirmed.

So, rest easy, folks: There isn't a totally new proprietary Apple connector in the works -- that anybody knows about yet, anyway.