The iPhone 5 connector is a headache for aircraft owners

By now, many followers or buyers of the Apple iPhone 5 are probably aware of the problems with its new mapping application (so much so that Nokia has even written a blog post to gloat about the benefits of their own mapping technology!) but Flight Display Systems has pointed out some challenges for companies that manufacture aircraft iPhone accessories. Specifically, Flight Display Systems pointed out two challenges: 1) The iPhone 5’s new “Lightning” connector and 2) The new, taller form-factor of the phone.

To first put things in perspective, Lightning is a brand new, all digital, eight-signal connector that is now being used iPhone 5, fifth generation iPod Touch and seventh generation iPod Nano. As with the old 30-pin connector, the Lightning port can be used for charging the device, syncing data and outputting audio to another device.

However, Lightning is an improvement because it is thinner – meaning the new iPhone 5 is less bulky and can have larger speakers for more volume output. Its also more durable than the previous connector that often got damaged when inadvertently plugged in backwards because the new connector is reversible.

What that means for Flight Display Systems’ products is the following:

  • iPod and iPhone Cable Adapters (FDMEDPLR-3 and FDMEDPLR-3QR). These products require the Lightning adapter to work with both the iPhone 5 and the fifth generation iPod Touch and according to Apple, the Lightning connecter will not support analog video. However, charging and audio output should still be supported.
  • iPod and iPhone Docking Station (FDIPD-MD Ver 2) — The new iPhone 5 and iPod Touch are too large to fit in this particular docking station, with or without the required adapter.

Adapters from Apple start at $19 for the Lightning to USB Cable, $29 for the Lightning adapter and $39 for the Lightning-to-30-pin connector cable but bear in mind that these adaptors will not necessarily support all functions just yet.

Likewise and for now, you might be better off sticking with your old iPhone when flying as there might still be other issues to work out. 

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