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Lightning Strikes

Apple officially unveiled the iPhone 5 a little more than a week ago.  As always, the Apple announcement caused a flurry of excitement and anticipation.  This time the news caused a little anxiety too.  This is because for the first time since its debut, the iPhone will not have the venerable 30 pin MFI (Made For iPad/iPhone/iPod) connector.  Instead, the iPhone 5 will have an all digital connector called “Lightning.”  This immediately causes a hospitality IT director to ask many nervous questions.

  • Do I need new docks and accessories for the iPhone 5?
  • Will my connectivity panels work with the iPhone 5?
  • How long will 30 pin products be available?
  • Will the new iPad Mini and anticipated iPad 4 use Lighting?
  • Is the whole concept of MFI dead?


Here is everything you need to know about Lightning, the 30 pin, and Apple connectivity.

  • Apple will have Lightning to 30 pin adapters at launch
  • Apple will be offering Lighting to HDMI and Lightning to VGA connectors almost immediately
  • If you already made an investment in a top tier connectivity panel, you’re safe
  • If you’re thinking about new connectivity, supporting the 30 pin is still a must (there ar nearly 500 million 30 pin devices in the wild)
  • Products with and products supporting the 30 pin connector will be available for the foreseeable future


Apple will have Lightning to 30 pin adapters available at launch.  The first generation will enable charging at a minimum.  There will also be active adapters that support analog audio over the 30 pin.  More elaborate adapters will allow you to go from the Lighting connector to HDMI or VGA.  These adapters will be readily available directly from Apple.   Basically, there is an adapter to support almost anything your guests want to do.

A/V  Connectivity

Did you already install a really cool connectivity panel in all your rooms?  Don’t worry.  It was a good choice.  The Lighting to HDMI adapter will allow your iPhone 5 guests to plug right into high end connectivity panels.  Your iPhone 5 guests will enjoy all their personal content just as you intended.

Are you thinking of investing in connectivity?  Good idea.  With the right panel you can support your new iPhone 5 guests and all your old 30 pin guests at the same time.  You may be tempted to ditch the 30 pin on a new connectivity panel, but unless you intend to alienate an installed base the size of Europe, you better not.  There are nearly 500 million Apple iPads, iPhones and iPods travelling around the planet right now.  That population is not going to die out any time soon.

Think about it.  How often do you upgrade your phone?  Every year?  Every two years?  You should probably offer that 30 pin to all the iPhone 4s, iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS guests for at least another two years.

How often do you upgrade your tablet?  Every two years, Every three years?  We might want to add another couple years of 30 pin connectivity support to be safe.   You don’t want to leave your iPad, iPad 2 and iPad 3 guests out in the cold.

How often do you think guests upgrade their iPods?  They probably keep them for at least three years.  I bet some guests are still rocking iPod classics.  I am sure the 30 pin connector will be loved and cherished by your guests for as long as your TVs will.

All Is Well

So, Lighting has struck, and everyone is safe and sound.  There are enough adapters to make sure your investment in connectivity is justified.   With the right connectivity solution all your guests will feel loved.

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