The iPod dock connector is the plug used to connect an iPod to its dock, just as the name implies. It was originally developed by JAE according to the iPod’s specifications. The first version of the iPod dock connector was made available with the third generation (3G) iPod.
With the iPod dock connector, a large amount of functionality can be achieved. The dock connector can allow the iPod to be connected to USB or Firewire ports on a computer, to a stereo with the use of a line-out connector, or to a serial device. Control over the iPod and what it is connected to is established thanks to the Apple Accessory Protocol, a driver style program developed by Apple.
The ends of the connector each feature thirty pins which are designed to carry a variety of data. For example, pins two through six carry left and right audio while pins nineteen and twenty are responsible for supplying power via a Firewire connection.
Live Insertion and Special Features
Along with the variety of computers and devices that the iPod dock connector can allow the iPod to connect to, the iPod dock connector also allows for live insertion. This is similar USB and Firewire style connections that allow the device and the computer to be powered on at the time of insertion.
All iPod dock connectors also feature a special locking mechanism designed for Apple. This lock works with two different press-in latches on the sides of the iPod dock connector. These connectors allow for a secure connection between the iPod and the computer or stereo. Such security is important due to the high probability for hard drive or data corruption during sudden iPod removal.
Also, the iPod dock connector is a sturdy connection with an established rating of up to 10,000 insertions and removals. This means the iPod dock connector will outlive any current generation iPod.