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Mercury C557
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Apple’s iPhone 5 Will Cause Headaches For In-Car Connectivity - Autosavant
By Chris Haak on September 14, 2012

We know that many of you read this site on your iPhones, and even if you’re reading this on a PC or Mac, chances are that you’re still at least aware of the news that yesterday, Apple announced an all-new iPhone, called the iPhone 5. (Just to make things even more complicated, it’s actually the 6th generation iPhone – original iPhone, 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, 5). Also, the ubiquitous Apple 30-pin dock connector has been thrown out after years of loyal service, replaced by an all-new 8-pin connector called “Lightning.” That last point has implications for the auto industry.

A majority of new cars sold today offer some sort of iPod/iPhone connectivity, usually via USB. If you have one of those vehicles and wish to connect an iPhone 5 to your car, you will either have to purchase an extra USB to Lightning cable from Apple, move the cable that comes with your phone to your home, to your office, and to your car, or buy a 30-pin-to Lightning adapter from Apple. Ford, for instance, allows you to connect a smartphone or music player with just a simple USB cable. The new iPhone 5 comes with one official Apple cable, but it’s $19.00 for a spare. And you’ll have to wait 2-3 weeks to get one from Apple at this point.

Proprietary Cables
My personal 2008 Cadillac CTS has a proprietary AC Delco cable to connect to an iPhone. Why GM had to make it so complicated, I don’t know. (I also don’t know why the cable has to be so damn short, which requires you to either keep your phone inside the center console, or to pinch the cable in the console lid.) The cable (pictured) has a 30-pin connector on one and and a 1/8 inch stereo plug/USB connector on the other. If I try to use a plain Apple USB cable to connect my iPhone to the car, I’m told it’s an unrecognized device. The solution for me will probably be to buy the 30-pin to Lightning adapter, but it is really annoying that the adapter is $29.00 (or $39.00 for the cable version!) and the GM cable costs $21.51. Hyundai and Kia, among others, use a similar proprietary cable, so owners of those cars would need to do something similar, unless automakers create a new version that replaces the 30-pin connector with a Lightning connector.

It gets more complicated if . . .

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