For those who might be curious as to what’s inside Apple’s 2007 Dock Connector to USB Cable, here are some pictures of the disassembly process. Compare it with the components of the Composite AV Cable previously torn open here.
Just like the shell of the AV Cable, the USB Cable’s white plastic enclosure can be popped open with a knife or other sharp cutting device. Using a pair of pliers helps to crack the sides and expose the innards.
The shell has an endcap on the Dock Connector end, which slides off when it’s been separated from the rest of the casing. That leaves you with a significantly smaller, nearly all-metal plug here—or, at least, that’s how it looks.
Once you remove two thin metal layers, which could conceivably be covering up some hidden treasure in the USB Cable, you’ll find foil wrapped around the base of the connector near the cabling. Is something hidden under the foil, like the butterfly cover for the chips in the AV Cable?
Nope. Peel away the foil and you’ll find plastic inside. Flip the housing around and you’ll see that it’s just plastic, or something similar.
It’s actually soft rubber, and can be peeled away from the metal Dock Connector plug.
Doing so reveals—wait for it—wires. Leading to the Dock Connector plug. Which is a housing for tiny pins designed to connect to wires on one side and accessories on the other.
What’s not inside? Chips. No surprise there.
“Ah,” you say, “what about that metal plated Dock Connector? Perhaps there’s something hidden under that metal plate.” No. It’s just the non-conductive plastic housing for the pins. The outer metal shell is actually missing in the cheaper Dock Connector cable clones we’ve been seeing for the past few years—losing it probably saved the clone makers a cent. There’s nothing else inside except wires, pins, and maybe a little glue.
Though most readers understand as much already, it bears repeating that because the Dock Connector to USB Cable doesn’t have authentication chip hardware inside, you’ll note that—contrary to what you might assume from the 2007 iPod’s on-screen iconography—you can’t make a current-generation iPod output video to a TV by plugging in the icon-matching USB Cable, any other generic cable, or past “Video Accessories” when the “Please Connect Video Accessory” screen comes up. Rather, you only transition to the iPod’s TV playback screen if you connect a new accessory containing a chip, such as Apple’s AV Cables or one of a handful of very recent third-party add-ons. As expected, the USB Cable is nothing more than a small and clean-looking way to connect your iPod or iPhone to another device for synchronization and/or battery charging, without any surprises or secrets hidden inside.