Apple encourages speaker firms to drop the iPhone dock altogether

With rumours swirling around the internet that Apple is to change the size of the dock connector on the next iPhone 5 to a smaller 19-pin version, Pocket-lint has heard from several sources that Apple has quietly been encouraging speaker manufacturers to ditch the docking part of a docking system altogether.

Doing so means that if Apple does move away from the 30-pin dock connector currently on the iPhone to one that is smaller, customers who've already made the jump to a wireless solution wouldn't be left seeking an adapter or even have to dump their existing speaker system entirely.

In recent months, more and more manufacturers are offering wireless rather than wired solutions, with companies such as Philips, Libertone, B&O, Pure and Sonos leading the charge.

While Apple relies heavily on the eco-system surrounding the iPod, iPhone and iPad ranges, the range of different sized devices and the possible launch of a smaller iPad later this year not only spells design issues in the future, but also makes things rather complicated when it comes to docking those devices.

The idea, according to our sources (who asked not to be named), is that if speaker companies create a wireless solution instead of a docked one, they can be guaranteed to be both future proofed and backwards compatible with all iPhones, including the purported iPhone 5. Depending on the streaming technology utilised, they can also be as effective with Android and Apple devices.

It's a solution Sonos has been pitching for some time. The only way to control its wireless speakers aside from your computer are via the company's iPhone or Android apps. The company did have a dedicated remote, but ended production earlier in the year after seeing how cheap devices like the iPod touch or Nexus 7 had become.

In addition, Pure has launched its own Airplay-equivalent technology, Pure Stream, which uses DLNA technology (rather than Bluetooth, adopted by many rivals) to work with iOS and Android phones and tablets alike. The company has even recently ditched the dock connectivity of its Contour speaker system, with the Contour 200i opting for AirPlay connectivity initially and Pure Stream compatibility to be implemented via an imminent firmware patch.

If our sources are correct (and there's no reason to believe otherwise), this is the path Apple is urging all manufacturers to follow.

What do you think? Happy to stream music rather than through the dock connector? Let us know in the comments below...



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