APPLE has been granted a patent for what is believed to be a new docking connector for the next version of the iPhone - and consumers are worried.
Apple is believed to be revamping the charging port for the iPhone5, which is expected to be released later this year.
The rumours about Apple users having to replace all their expensive accessories have been in overdrive for weeks.
The patent would seem to confirm the rumours that Apple - which always plays its cards tight to its chest with new designs - is switching its 30-pin dock to 19-pin.
And that is what concerns Apple users. The new design will mean changing all of your peripherals, such as speaker docks, unless adapters come to market, The Daily Mail reports.
The rumoured proposal has sparked alarm among the company’s followers who fear they will have to buy new equipment to work with the phone.
Docking stations, which play music stored on iPhones and can cost hundreds of dollars, may become redundant as will chargers. The new port looks similar to micro USB, the standard supported by all other phone manufacturers but it's unlikely that Apple will support this standard.
Apple's version has a triangle-shaped wedge at one end, which should stop users plugging in the cable the wrong way round.
The US patent office granted the patent for: "A power adapter for a peripheral device such as portable electronics device.
"The power adapter includes a housing that contains electrical components associated with the power adapter.
"The power adapter also includes a data port provided at a surface of the housing. The data port is configured to provide external power to the peripheral device."
Apple advertised for staff to work on the new connector earlier this year. It was seeking an engineer ‘responsible for identifying appropriate connection technology requirements for new products and follow through with selection and development of suitable interconnect products’.
The advertisement added: ‘This will often involve adaptation of existing connectors or complete new designs.’
The new iPhone is expected to have a larger 4-inch screen that will reputedly offer better resolution viewing than a high definition TV.
It will include Apple’s new mapping software, which has sparked privacy fears as it uses aerial photography capable of showing detail just four inches across.