Fresh reports have indicated that Apple is again introducing a new connector for iPhone and other Apple devices called Ultra Accessory Connector.
There was initial confusion about its utility. This came after it was known that Apple has added the port to its Made for iPhone licensing program and provided partners with a developer preview so they can possibly begin manufacturing compatible accessories.
New vs. Old Port
According to 9to5Mac, which first reported the development, it will purportedly replace, in some cases, the Lightning connector for iOS devices and the USB-C connector in Macs.
Naturally, this bit of information had iOS and Mac users fretting especially with the prospect of a new connection mechanism that will replace the existing ports.
New sources, however, revealed that the new connector is designed for accessories such as headphones, and that it is not new at all. An Apple spokesperson has told CNET that it has only renamed an existing off-the-shelf accessory already used by other devices such as digital cameras. Nikon is said to be calling it UC-E6, while others refer to it as Ultra Mini Connector.
Apple's use of a new label is reportedly aimed at establishing the technology's naming convention.
The UAC Explained
The general idea is that the new or renamed connector, if you will, is going to serve as a way for your Lightning and USB-C accessories to work with other connectors. The UAC-labeled connectors are officially sanctioned by Apple since they have other variants in the market.
These are primarily attached to the cables of accessories so that Lightning to UAC, USB-A to UAC, and 3.5 mm jack to UAC cables become possible.
The UAC connector itself is a curious affair. It has eight pins and measures 2.05 mm by 4.85 mm, which means that it has smaller footprint than Lightning and USB-C ports.
Do Apple Devices Need UAC?
As of this writing, no one can yet make heads or tails of Apple's decision to support the UAC technology. One of the possible reasons is the company's recent move to ditch the iPhone's audio jack, which left many accessories manufacturers struggling to produce compatible accessories. The Cupertino company only explained that it was widely requested by licensees.
Overall, it is confounding since UAC has few practical utilities for iOS device owners. What is worse is that it is reinforcing the idea that when you buy an Apple device, you really have to factor in hidden costs for cables and connectors.