A report from 9to5Mac claims Apple is planning to introduce a new connector type as part of its Made-for-iPhone (MFi) licensing program. The company reportedly is less than thrilled with the size of the Lightning and USB-C connectors and aims to save space with its new “Ultra Accessory Connector” (UAC).
According to the report, Apple’s new connector is similar in shape to ultra mini USB connectors currently on the market.
Measuring in at 2.05mm by 4.85mm at the tip, the 8-pin connector is slightly less thick than both Lightning and USB-C, and almost half as wide as the smaller of the two (USB-C). The space-saving connector is similar in shape to ultra mini USB connectors on the market that are often bundled as proprietary cables with accessories (like the one pictured below).
The UAC will allow accessory makers to save space inside their designs versus using an Apple Lightning port or USB-C, which are similar in size to one another.
For now, Apple plans on using the Ultra Accessory Connector with headphones, though it’s unclear if the port will be used for other hardware down the road. 9to5Mac claims the connector has been shared with developers in preparation for the UAC’s arrival.
In addition to headphones, there will likely be cables from accessory manufacturers, including Lightning to UAC, USB-A to UAC, and 3.5mm headset jack to UAC, according to 9to5Mac.
Why doesn’t Apple just use USB-C?
With USB-C becoming the standard across the industry, it’s unclear why Apple doesn’t just adopt USB-C across its devices. The company’s newest laptops include USB-C ports, while some phones are starting to adopt the port, too. Beyond space-saving, it’s unclear what Apple is hoping to accomplish by introducing the UAC.