Apple is seeking engineers to “manage multiple connector designs and developments in support of the iPod product lines,” according to job postings on the company’s internal hiring site. Although the application references the iPod “product lines,” the timing of the posting coincides with rumors and leaks that suggest Apple is redesigning the ubiquitous 30-pin dock connector for the next generation iPhone and future iDevices.
The job postings state that Apple is seeking candidates who would be responsible for the “adaptation of existing connectors or complete [sic] new designs” and for identifying “appropriate connection technology requirements for new products.”
While job postings are not always indicative of future Apple products, occasional listings have provided a hint of things to come from Cupertino. Of note, a posting in April for an iOS programmer with experience in 3D mapping foreshadows what many expect to be the launch of a new Apple 3D maps application at WWDC in June.
The 30-pin dock connector was first released with the third-generation iPod in 2003. Since then, it has been found on every iDevice except for the iPod Shuffle, whose small form factor necessitated the use of a USB and, later, headphone connection for data and power.
Aside from the increase in useable space brought by a smaller dock connector — supposedly leaked images of the next generation iPhone show that the smaller dock connector allows larger speakers and microphones, as well as the ability to relocate the headphone jack to the bottom of the device — it is not yet known if Apple plans to modify the backbone connection type of a new dock connector, which currently employs USB 2.0. Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 would provide significantly faster throughput, but Thunderbolt is not yet widespread on Macs and USB 3.0, despite rumors, is not available at all outside of third party add-on cards for the Mac Pro or ExpressCard-capable Macs.
Regardless, Apple is unlikely to reveal any information about the next iPhone or a new dock connector until later this year. The upcoming WWDC is expected to focus on iOS 6, OS X Mountain Lion, new MacBook Pros, and, possibly, the new Apple Television OS.
[via Ars Technica]