iPhone 5 compatibility with existing audio input accessories

Since the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter (0.2 meter cable) arrived yesterday, I have had the opportunity to test several audio accessories with the iPhone 5. The results are presented below. Only accessories that worked with the iPhone 4 were tested, since earlier audio input accessories couldn’t be expected to work with the new iPhone (they relied on the analog input pins that were not supported on 4th generation iOS devices).

30-pin audio input accessory compatibility

Accessory iPhone 5 iPhone 4/4S
Apogee Jam Yes Yes
Fostex AR-4i Yes (1) Yes
Line 6 Mobile In Yes Yes
Sonoma Wire Works GuitarJack 2 Yes Yes
Tascam iU2 No (2) Yes
  1. There were a few times that I couldn’t get the iPhone 5 to recognize the Fostex AR-4i, but once it did, the AR-4i worked well. Sometimes, the iPhone would give the same message as that for the Tascam iU2 (below).
  2. When connecting the iU2 without USB power, the iPhone 5 wouldn’t recognize it. When USB power was supplied to the iU2, the iPhone would present a message which said, “The connected USB device is not supported.”

iPhone 4 Audio and Frequency Response Limitations

The iPad’s lack of line level audio input support via the dock connector certainly raised the question of what would be in store for the iPhone 4. Now that I have my hands on the new iPhone, I thought I would go ahead and report on the state of audio I/O on the new device.

Here’s what seems pretty clear, based on my initial tests of the iPhone 4:

  • The iPhone 4 does not accept standard iPod accessories with line level input
  • Unfortunately, the new iPhone doesn’t work with the USB connector of the iPad camera connection kit, either, so there really isn’t a two-channel audio input option at the present time.
  • The frequency response of the iPhone 4’s headset mic input is virtually identical to that of the iPhone 3GS.
  • The built-in microphone’s frequency response also closely matches that of the 3GS.

iPhone 4 Headset Input Frequency Response

iPhone 4 Built-in Microphone Frequency Response

It really is unfortunate that there is currently no way to get stereo signals into the new iPhone 4, although I’m confident that it’s only a matter of time before an acceptable solution presents itself. Beyond this glaring limitation, the iPhone 4 is essentially the same as the iPhone 3GS (and iPad) in terms of its audio performance. It will be interesting to see, though, what new possibilities open up with the A4 processor, the increased memory, and the high-resolution display (which is quite amazing, by the way).