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Lightning 30-pin adapter works with analog audio, "iPod Out" doesn't mean what you think it means (Updated)

Sep 14th 2012 12:30 AM EDT

A certain degree of confusion around not-yet-shipping products is inevitable, as hands-on information is limited and manufacturers' descriptions may be cryptic. In the case of the iPhone 5, Apple's not helping matters with its spec page for the Lightning to 30-pin dock adapters, specifically the mention of "iPod Out" not being supported.

[Updated: As one of our commenters noticed, Apple has now removed the confusing reference to the "iPod Out" feature. The store page now says "This adapter lets you connect devices with a Lightning connector to many of your 30-pin accessories. Support for analog audio output, USB audio, as well as syncing and charging. Video output not supported." It's not clear if this actually means that the adapter does support iPod Out for car stereos, but it is clear that analog audio is included.]

The $29/$39 Lightning adapter certainly sounds pricey (and is generating some high-profile complaints for its cost and for the retrofit challenges), but one reason for that is the amount of work it has to do. As with Thunderbolt, these are "cables with a chip"; they handle digital to analog conversion, USB audio, all the signaling for track changes, etc. that were part of the original 30-pin connector standard.

There are two things these adapters won't do to emulate the 30-pin dock link. They can't send analog video out, and they don't support "iPod Out" mode. As soon as people began reading that the adapters didn't support "iPod Out" they immediately assumed (in the absence of helpful information, like a link on the spec page or something of that sort) that meant the adapters wouldn't handle analog audio, and that the iPhone 5 would completely obsolete millions of

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Filed under: iPhone, iPod
Tags: 30-pin, iphone, iphone 5, Iphone5, ipod, ipod touch, IpodTouch, lightning
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