Back in February, iMore was the first source to claim that Apple will be introducing a smaller dock connector for its iOS devices, with the claim now being supported by a number of other sources and evidence in the form of part leaks showing a much smaller opening in the casing of what is claimed to be the next-generation iPhone.
But other details on the new dock connector have remained unclear, with various sources reporting different numbers of pins for the new connector compared to the current 30-pin design. TechCrunch was the first to report that the new design would contain 19 pins, a claim that gained credibility when Reuters cited the same number last month.
Other numbers of pins have, however, been circulating with iLounge last week claiming just eight pins for the new connector. And just yesterday, 9to5Mac reported on a reference to "9Pin" in a section of iOS 6 code addressing core hardware features.
Regardless of the exact number of pins included in the new dock connector design, it appears that the connector itself will be even smaller than originally thought based on leaked photos of casings seen so far. French site Nowehereelse.fr posted a new photo it has received showing that there is actually a metal ring inside the casing cutout for the new dock connector.The purpose of the ring is currently unknown, but some have been hoping that Apple's new dock connector will include an attachment mechanism similar to the MagSafe standard used on the company's notebook computers. A MagSafe-like dock connector could allow users to insert the cable in either orientation, a feature suggested last week by iLounge, and make it easier for the cables to simply snap into place.