A new dock connector design for Apple products has been bandied about for quite some time, but it's now beginning to look like the rumors are true. John Biggs at TUAW's sister site TechCrunch reports that the blog has verified that Apple will add a 19-pin connector to the next iPhone, replacing the venerable 30-pin connector that has been around since the third-generation iPod.
The new port has been glimpsed in both blog posts and a video, and is apparently similar in size to the MacBook Pro / MacBook Air Thunderbolt ports. However, Biggs was told by three manufacturers that the pin-out for the new port is definitely different from Thunderbolt. These manufacturers all agreed that the new 19-pin dock port is being developed by Apple.
What does that mean for accessory manufacturers? They'll be anxiously awaiting official word from Apple about the new dock connector, and will most likely have to develop adapters that connect the new iPhone to old 30-pin accessories.
The new design is a nod to space savings in Apple devices, since the new connector is much more compact than the existing design. Other internal space savings are expected to come from the adoption of the newly-approved 4FF (Fourth Form Factor) "nano-SIM," an Apple design that was recently approved by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).