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Definition: Apple dock connector

The plug and socket that provides data transfer between an iPhone, iPad or iPod and a computer or sound system. The Apple device contains the socket, and the cable or docking station has the plug. In 2012, the digital+analog 30-pin interface was replaced with an all-digital 8-pin interface (see Lightning connector).

Digital and Analog
The 30-pin Apple dock connector used 27 digital lines for USB and DisplayPort interfaces, plus three lines for analog audio. However, all Apple devices, except for iPhones starting with the iPhone 7, have an analog 3.5 mm headphone jack, which is also commonly used to connect to a stereo system or boombox (see mini-phone connector).

First Dock Connector (30 pins - digital+analog)
The 30-pin connector works with Apple devices prior to the iPhone 5 and 2012 models of the iPod touch and nano. It includes three lines of analog audio. See Apple dock.

Second Dock Connector (8 pins - digital)
The 8-pin Lightning connector uses a reversible plug and has no analog lines (for details, see Lightning connector). (Image courtesy of Apple Inc.)

Easy to Tell the Difference
Apple's 8-pin and 30-pin plugs are entirely different and easy to identify.