By John D. Sutter, CNN
(CNN) – The tiniest iPhone rumors can cause a big uproar.
The latest: The blog TechCrunch on Wednesday published a story claiming the next-generation iPhone will have a new connection port that’s about a third the size of the one on the current model.
The reaction on blogs and on Twitter has been largely negative, with commenters saying the new port — used to charge the phone and connect it to other devices — would render obsolete existing chargers and accessories such as speaker sets.
“Every other phone manufacturer decided back in 2008 to conform to the MicroUSB standard, and that’s been wonderful,” one commenter, identified as Scott Ableman, wrote on the TechCrunch story. “But Apple wants people to feel they have to buy proprietary accessories from them. Don’t get me wrong. I respect them as marketers and profiteers. I just hate their contempt for me as a customer.”
“Are standards just too easy for Apple to use?” asked Calob Horton, a writer for the blog Pocketables, which focuses on mobile technology. “Does the company feel the need to create its own, proprietary hardware to feel special, more profitable or even more popular?”
He added: “I understand the lust Apple has towards thinness and being able to cram more tech into a small package, but it can be achieved without its own port designs that can make the devices incompatible with other companies’ products.”
Apple hasn’t announced whether or not it’s working on a new iPhone, much less confirmed specifications such as the type of dock that will be included, and the company did not respond immediately to CNN’s request for comment.
Most observers expect Apple to introduce its next iPhone this fall since the current 4S model was launched last October and the company has a history of releasing upgraded phones each year.
TechCrunch said its report is based on interviews with three independent manufacturers of Apple accessories that said the new iPhone will include a 19-pin dock instead of the current 30-pin model.
In 2003, Apple introduced the 30-pin dock connector on the third-generation iPod. Since then, the port has been a fixture at the bottom of Apple’s mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPad. The connection type is proprietary, meaning cords and accessories that use the 30-pin dock only work with Apple devices. Still, the dock has become “insanely ubiquitous,” as Pocketables writes, to the point that it’s almost a standard of its own.
It’s unclear if the new dock will be another only-Apple standard.
Writing for the site ZDNet, Jason D. O’Grady said the new port “presumably” adheres to the Micro USB standard, which is used on most other mobile phones. If that’s the case, he said, the switch could have all kinds of advantages, including saving consumers money (a 30-pin cord from Apple costs $19; Micro USB cords start at less than $1) and making it easier for Apple to comply with a European law that requires Micro USB ports on new mobile phones. (Apple gets around this by selling an adapter in Europe.)
Either way, if the Apple standard changes, iPhone owners may be left, as @shmidtb writes on Twitter, with “a bunch of worthless cords” on their hands.