iPhone 5 to have even smaller 8-pin dock connector?

Rumours that the next iPhone will have a smaller dock connector have been circulating for months. But a new report suggests that the redesigned port could be even smaller than was previously thought.

iLounge, citing two unnamed sources, reported on Wednesday that Apple's next-generation iPhone (and likely the next iPod touch and iPad) will have a newly designed 8-pin dock connector. The new dock connector is said to be replacing the long-standing 30-pin port currently in use on all iOS devices.

Back in February, rumours emerged that Apple was considering a smaller connector for future iDevices in order to make room for things like 4G and heftier batteries. Since then, the rumour mill has churned out reports indicating that Apple is working on a 16-pin and 19-pin dock connector. One report said the new dock connector will be pill-shaped and only slightly larger than the bottom speaker hole on the existing iPhone 4S.

Adding fuel to the flames were two job listings posted to Apple's website in May seeking a "Connector Design Engineer" and a "Product Design Eng — Connector" to work in Cupertino. Both postings said the job would "involve adaptation of existing connectors or complete new designs."

A change to the 30-pin dock connector would, naturally, make existing docking systems incompatible with future iDevices, unless Apple released some sort of adapter.

We likely won't find out if the rumours are true until the fall, when Apple is expected to launch its next iPhone with iOS 6.

But does it all really matter? As long as we know the 30-pin port is being changed, the new design is immaterial as none of us have a smaller iOS connector and we'll all have to go out and buy the new cable or adaptor regardless. So perhaps everyone needs to relax and wait and see on this one...