With the recent launch of the iPhone 5, it’s plain that many like it. But as is generally the case for Apple launches, at least one major problem has made itself known, and this time, it’s in the form of the new dock connector.
For those out there–especially small businesses–who have been using Apple products as part of their overall tech profile for any length of time, it’s already quite clear that the new iPhone will be a necessary upgrade to the profile. But at the same time, there are also likely plenty of peripheral products in that same tech profile that use the old dock connector that will have serious problems when the new iPhone comes out.
The old dock connector, a 30-pin mechanism, was standard on iPhones–and many other iOS devices–since the original release of same back in 2007. The new pin, meanwhile, is significantly smaller than its predecessor at just eight pins. And though the new dock connector, called Lightning, is not just significantly smaller but also easier to work with (it’s reversible, meaning you no longer have to plug in the connection “the right way”) and provides a digital interface complete with improved durability. While Lightning is a serious step up from the 30 pin dock connector, the problem is that there are a lot of devices out there running with it. Though Apple is offering adapters, it’s leaving a lot of small businesses in a bind.
For instance, hotel chains which bought large numbers of specific clock radios with iPod docks in them–they work with iPhones too, generally, but not iPads as they’re too large to sit upright in the dock–now face the unsettling decisions of whether or not to upgrade or keep the devices, which will soon find themselves out of date thanks to the change. Moreover, there are technology companies that use large amounts of Apple hardware for outfitting their outside sales staffs or their IT departments or the like–the recent advance in the BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, principle shows this quite clearly–and the change in the dock connector will leave all the accompanying hardware for these devices, from keyboard cases to speaker docks, all out of date.
This leaves businesses–especially those heavily reliant on Apple hardware–with the choice of facing either obsolesence in the not too distant future or with a heavy price tag for replacing, in some cases, recently purchased hardware. It’s not a good choice to make either way, and that’s a good chunk of why some small businesses overall are fairly upset about Apple’s changes.
However, there are still ways to help a small business even in the midst of an unpleasant decision like this. Consider the introduction of cloud-based telephony tools to help save money and make contact with customers a simpler, easier procedure thanks to such features as toll-free number services and hold queues.
While just what effect Apple’s decision to switch to the smaller dock connector will have on small business is quite unclear for now, it will likely become much more evident in the coming weeks.