Will future iDevices ditch their traditional dock connectors? According to a report from iMore.com, Apple is prepping a smaller connector in order to make room for things like 4G and heftier batteries.
The blog didn't cite any particular source except to say that "we've heard that Apple is getting ready to ditch the dock connector as it's currently sized and implemented on iPods, iPhones, and iPads."
The decision is "typically Apple," iMore said - a desire to add more capability without changing up the signature iPad and iPhone design.
While not huge, the current dock connector takes up valuable real estate on the iPhone and, to some extent, the iPad. When the iPhone 4S made its debut, one of the major complaints was the lack of 4G connectivity. But on that point, Apple chose design over function since current LTE chips are just too bulky.
"Apple has always prioritized slim elegance over network speed, and the company is definitely concerned about battery life. Sticking with a high-speed HSPA network rather than nascent LTE lets Apple keep its phone slender and running all day," PCMag's senior mobile analyst, Sascha Segan, wrote last year.
The slimmer, single-chip LTE solutions that come from Qualcomm won't be out until the third or fourth quarter of 2012, Segan said. Recent rumors suggest that Apple will unveil its next-generation iPhone in the fall of 2012.
But 4G isn't the only thing Apple is looking to add to its devices, iMore said. A slimmer dock connector could also provide room for a bigger battery.
The blog didn't discuss exactly what might replace the current dock connector. Back in January, however, a patent application unearthed by Patently Apple revealed that Cupertino might expand the use of magnets to iOS devices. Future models of the iPhone and iPad may use the so-called "MagSafe" magnetically attached power connectors that Apple introduced in 2006 and now uses on all its MacBook laptops.