So Apple made this connector a lot more simplified than I thought they would. And they sacrificed quite a bit just for the sake of size.
Lightning, as the new connector is called, is described as "all-digital", which seems more obfuscatory than necessary. The basic conceit of this new connector is that at any point in time, not all the pins of the 30-pin connector were active. So, if a particular use case involved the charging pins and some audio pins, or the charging pins and USB pins, why not design a system that provides just enough pins for any given use case. The iPhone senses what pins are being requested and some on-device signaling sends the necessary bits over the available pins.
As an added design feature, the connector is reversible, so you'll never fumble with figuring out what way to put it in, as is so common with USB connectors.
There's much that we still need to dig into with this new connector, but we do know what it is almost surely not. This isn't a faster interface.
So instead of piping everything separately on its own pin like they could with the 30 pin connector, they now have to use processing power to monitor each pin for what type of activity is being sent. Which almost completely negates the advantage that the 30 pin connector had. And in doing so, they lost a bunch of functionality that was possible with the 30 pin connector. They're using additional system resources to monitor pins because of shared usage, which makes accessory manufacturers create adapters that are more complicated because they also have to monitor pins for the correct data.
You can find this on Apple's site regarding the new Lightning adapter: “Video and iPod Out not supported.” WTF? Dicks...
That's because it no longer has separate piping or sufficient pins to allow for it. That's pretty disappointing. This new adapter is not really faster at all. And naming it Lightning is just short of hilariously sad.