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iPhone 5 could get smaller dock: report

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(Read caption) According to a new rumor, Apple may alter the loading dock on its next iPhone. Here, the iPhone 4S.

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The white cord and 30-pin dock: They've been a fixture on the Apple iPhone since the launch of the first-generation device, in 2007. But according to the tech site iMore, Apple is considered ditching the old dock, and replacing it with a smaller connector, which would purportedly debut on the iPhone 5 – a handset expected to launch later in 2012. 

The reason for the purported change-up, Rene Ritchie of iMore writes, "isn’t anything political, like a new desire to conform to an outdated micro-USB standard, but typically Apple: to save space inside the iPhone 5 for what are now more important components." Not that the current dock connector takes up gads of space. But in a relatively slim handset like the iPhone, every inch and ounce counts. 

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iMore, of course, does not specify the source of the rumor – presumably it came from somewhere up the Apple supply chain. And Apple is staying mum. Still, the gossip provides some interesting grounds for speculation: What if Apple does ditch the current dock, in favor of what Ritchie calls a "micro dock"? As Adrian Kingsley-Hughes of ZD Net notes, it could alter the entire Apple eco-system. 

"[Y]ou might be thinking that Apple won’t do this because it would make a whole raft of accessories obsolete," he writes. "Well, yes, but you can never guarantee that an accessory built for one device will work on a new device anyway, so this is a moot point. It might make it harder for manufacturers to who make things like docks because they’re have to somehow cater for two different connectors, but again that’s not an insurmountable problem." 

In related news, buzz around the next iPad – presumably called the iPad 3 – continues to ripple across the tech press this week. It's a good bet that the next Apple slate will have a "retina display," a better processor, and maybe even 4G support. But it probably won't look a whole lot different than the current iPad 2: images recently posted by MacRumors show a very familiar casing and frame. 

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut. And don’t forget to sign up for the weekly BizTech newsletter.

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