Apple has been awarded a patent for device-to-accessory adapters, notably including an adapter design with wireless functionality. Noting that “media players may have different sized connectors,” specifically that a “newer media player may have a more advanced, smaller sized connector receptacle,” the patent’s abstract notes that the invention would “provide compatibility among incompatible accessories and portable media players,” suggesting that Lightning-equipped devices could be connected to older accessories built with 30-pin Dock Connectors.
Another concept covered in the patent is wireless functionality similar to what iSkin offered years ago in the Cerulean TX+RX Stereo Bluetooth Transmitter and Receiver — a Dock Connector-based Bluetooth adapter accessory that Apple reluctantly permitted the company to sell, while denying other vendors the ability to produce similar devices. If similarly designed, Apple’s adapter could allow all wireless iPods, iPhones, and iPads to stream music to older docking speakers without making a physical connection. [via Apple Insider]