iPhone 5 to come with much smaller 8-pin dock connector

Over the past few months, there have been a slew of leaked iPhone parts which have all but confirmed that Apple's next-gen smartphone will, in fact, sport a new 4-inch screen in a slimmer and longer form factor. What's more, and perhaps because of the device's rumored support for 4G LTE, the iPhone will likely come with a smaller dock connector as well. After all, LTE can drain a battery like you wouldn't believe, putting space inside the phone at a premium.

Though Apple hasn't made any official announcement just yet, it's largely believed - based on a number of credible reports from outlets like the New York Times and Bloomberg - that the official iPhone 5 unveiling is set to take place on September 12. It's also believed that the official iPhone 5 launch will take place 9 days later on Friday, September 21.

Over the past few months, there have been a slew of leaked iPhone parts which have all but confirmed that Apple's next-gen smartphone will, in fact, sport a new 4-inch screen in a slimmer and longer form factor. What's more, and perhaps because of the device's rumored support for 4G LTE, the iPhone will likely come with a smaller dock connector as well. After all, LTE can drain a battery like you wouldn't believe, putting space inside the phone at a premium.

RELATED: What the iPhone 5 may very well look like

The 20 best iPhone/iPad games of 2012 so far

That said, iMore reported a few months back that the new iPhone would be doing away with the standard 30-pin dock connector we've all grown to know and love over the past few years and will instead feature a 19-pin dock connector.

But in early August, the typically reliable Jeremy Horwitz of iLounge reported the following:

According to two sources, Apple’s new Dock Connector features only 8 pins, seemingly contradicting claims of “16-pin” and “19-pin” connectors. Although the original Dock Connector contained 30 pins, reports of 16- or 19-pin connectors seemed hard to square with the port’s small size and Apple’s actual need for additional pins beyond what USB/Micro-USB offer. No images or parts for the connector have leaked out, either. Both of our sources concur that there are eight pins in a line within the new Dock Connector, which may well receive a different name going forward.

Corroborating that report somewhat were even more leaked iPhone 5 casings that hit the web just a few days ago courtesy of the French site NowhereElse.Fr. The site has a spotty track record with respect to Apple rumors so take this photo with a grain of salt, but every once in a while the website does manage to produce a scoop.

It's worth noting that in Horwitz's original report, he noted that the new dock connector Apple has in the works will work in either orientation, similar to how Apple's MagSafe cable works.

Lastly, the unveiling and subsequent release of the iPhone 5 will see the debut of iOS 6, where one of the more anticipated features is Apple's own in-house Maps app. As you probably recall, Apple is doing away with Google Maps and is instead relying on its own mapping schema which is the result of years of work and a few notable acquisitions. The "one more thing" feature of Apple's Maps app is undeniably 3D mapping functionality which it acquired when it purchased the company C3 technologies in 2011.

To that end, 9to5Mac discovered a few days ago that the number of cities with 3D mapping available has been expanded in recent months to now include the following:

We’ve found that Apple has added some new incredible 3D views for new major cities both in the U.S. and abroad. Here are the major new 3D cities we’ve found:

United States: Boston, Atlanta, Portland, Phoenix, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas.

Canada: Toronto.

Europe: Lyon, France; Birmingham, UK; Manchester, UK.

Previous iOS 6 releases, beginning with the beta 1 release in mid-June, include several other cities: Los Angeles, San Diego, Memphis, Denver, Copenhagen, Montreal, San Francisco and the Bay Area, Las Vegas, Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago, Miami, Seattle, and Sacramento.

Here's video of what the technology is capable of.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

Take IDG’s 2020 IT Salary Survey: You’ll provide important data and have a chance to win $500.