Apple’s “new” UAC port
A 9to5Mac report making the rounds today claims that Apple would be adding support for a new connector to its “Made For iPhone” accessory licensing program, the UAC port. Dubbed the “Ultra Accessory Connector” or “UAC” in Apple’s documentation, the report claims this is a new port, smaller than Lightning or USB-C, that could be used to charge devices or transfer data.
In reality, the UAC is just Apple’s name for a port that is already used in some digital cameras and other accessories—Apple has just given it a new moniker. Currently, it goes by a few different titles: Mitsumi calls it an “Ultra Mini Connector” and Nikon calls it a “UC-E6” cable. In any case, it appears to be just another connector for the regular-old USB spec. When contacted for comment, Apple told us that it was adding the port to the MFi program at the request of licensees, not because it’s trying to push licensees to support a new kind of connector.
It’s understandable that Apple’s users would get worked up over the idea of a new UAC port—the company’s iDevices just made the jump from 30-pin connector to the small reversible Lightning connector in 2012. The Mac is still in the process of moving from a mix of USB, power, Ethernet, and Thunderbolt ports to USB-C and Thunderbolt 3. And Apple’s iPhone 7 grabbed a lot of headlines for removing its standard 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of Lightning and wireless headphones.
The UAC port could add yet another connector to your life if you buy an accessory with it built in, but at this point, it looks like it’s not something that Apple developed itself or something that Apple is pushing as a replacement for either Lightning or USB-C. Apple is simply allowing makers of MFi products to use the port and to develop Apple-blessed cables and adapters for UAC to USB-A, UAC to USB-C, and UAC to 3.5mm headphone jack connections.