iLounge is reporting on new iPhone specs which include two major changes: a different aspect ratio, and a new dock connector. This seem surprising for two reasons.
First, changing the aspect ratio would mean that all apps have to be updated. Unless the additional space is something like the Dock in OS X; a list of icons for the most recently used apps, or those you wish to always have just a tap away. Instead of pressing the home button to change apps, you could tap one of the apps on that Dock. The downside to this is that it would be ugly. Imagine if you’re watching a video or playing a game; will that Dock disappear? I’m not convinced that this would be a good choice.
The second thing that would surprise me is a change in the dock connector. There is a huge ecosystem of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch accessories that depend on the current 30-pin dock connector. Rendering all of these accessories unusable with new models would be a severe change that would annoy millions of users. (Class action suit anyone?)
Also, changing the aspect ratio – and the size – would once again mean that your iPhone case doesn’t fit. Many cases work with both the iPhone 4 and 4S, and it’s fair to assume that a case won’t be compatible for a very long time, but Apple should try to maintain the usability of accessories as long as possible.
I think these specs are not authentic especially regarding the dock connector, which has millions, of not tens of millions of currently used devices, which would no longer function. The way the dock connector works in, say, docking stations with speakers, means that it’s not easy to add an adapter. Some devices might be able to use one, but most that I’ve seen wouldn’t work with an adaptor.
Also, if enough rumors come out that there will be a new dock connector, accessory manufacturers will have trouble selling their existing devices. I think that if Apple is definitely not planning to change the dock connector, they should make this clear, so both vendors and users can be sure that accessories will continue to work with future iOS devices.