Apple has an obsession with connectors. It loves Lightning cables, hates 3.5mm auxiliary audio jacks and has removed everything that’s not a USB-C connection from its latest 12-inch MacBook
It’s so obsessed, apparently, that it has its eye on a connector called the Ultra Accessory Connector, or UAC for short. Apple recently included the specification for the new connector type for iPhones, iPads and other iOS devices in its Made-for-iPhone (MFi) licensing program in hopes to get the world ready for a possible switch.
The connector, which some electronics like Nikon cameras have been using for years, is smaller than USB-C at 2.05mm by 4.85mm, and its purpose is to reduce the space needed for connectors on the next generation of third-party devices. Sources close to the matter told 9 to 5 mac that the connector could replace Lightning and USB-C connections altogether – though the jury's out if that's what will actually happen.
In practice, what's more likely to happen is you might buy a pair of headphones that have a UAC port that then connects to the Lightning port on your phone, or vice-versa. In that sense UAC might help to resolve the USB-C, Lightning Port, 3.5mm jack dilemma by introducing a dongle to iOS devices that can do all three. To that end, the sources tell 9to5Mac that Apple will allow third-party manufacturers to make Lightning to UAC, USB-A to UAC, and 3.5mm headset jacks to UAC cables – letting headphones with the new connection type work with a variety of Apple devices.
Now, there’s no doubt that there’s some real, practical purpose here – a new connector that saves space and connects to any number of next-gen devices sounds like a good thing – but for the most part this is probably going to alarm and upset a large group of consumers, most of whom haven’t gotten over Apple’s decision to remove the 3.5mm audio jack from the iPhone 7.