Lightning Connector Format has an Expected Lifespan of Five to Ten Years
KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently broke down the cost of components used in the iPhone 5 and found the Lightning’s ASP (average sales price) to have risen the most compared to the parts in the iPhone 4S. He notes that the new Lightning connector’s cost of $3.50 represents a huge 775% rise in ASP compared to the legacy 30-pin dock connector’s last price of $0.40. The Lightning cable’s $6.00 ASP is a 233% jump from the previous standard’s $1.80 model as well. The spike as a whole is expected as Lightning is a new technology, replacing the nearly decade old 30-pin dock connector first introduced with the third-generation iPod.
Although Apple’s new plug seems to be similar in size to the Micro USB standard, Kuo believes that the Lightning’s specs are higher, making the connector more difficult to manufacture. The high-tech part includes a unique design which the analysts believes is likely to feature a pin-out with four contacts dedicated to data, two for accessories, one for power, and a ground. Two of the data transmissions pins may be reserved for future input/output technology similar to what is found in USB 3.0 or perhaps even Thunderbolt (though both are just speculations).
One of the many things people were wondering about Lightning was how long the format would be around. It’s expected lifespan is estimated to be in use for the next five to ten years, almost identical to the now-defunct 30-pin standard. Although the ASP might be a bit high in the first one or two years following its release, the cost is one Apple can likely make back its investment on from accessory sales royalties. Apple is said to be using a Texas Instruments chip for accessory authorization, making it difficult for third party manufacturers to build and sell Lightning-compatible products without paying royalties (a smart move on Apple’s end of course).
Source: Ming-Chi Kuo