Apple's new Lightning connector is elegant, necessary, and was inevitable. The old 30-pin connector was bulky compared to the mini USB cords that are now ubiquitous for a variety of mobile and wireless devices. Don't mention that to someone who has spent the past five years collecting iPod-compatible accessories, though.
The Lightning connector means a period of transition for both Apple fans and for Apple accessory manufacturers. To help ease the transition, Apple has an adapter that will allow users to dock their shiny new iPhone 5 in their old 30-pin compatible stereos. At $30, the solution isn't cheap, and given the incredible lengths to which Apple has gone to make the Lightning connector proprietary, it might be a long while until less-expensive third-party options are available.
Today, MacRumors is reporting that the first shipments of the new adapter are being shipped out to customers. According to the site, some Australians have reported that their adapter shipments are now labeled as "in transit" by the online Apple Store and that delivery could be as early as tomorrow, October 9.
Something to remember about the new adapter is that it won't work perfectly with accessories designed for the analog 30-pin connector. Specifically, Apple's product listing for the adapter states that it won't support video or iPod Out formats. iPod Out is a format that allows some compatible systems (such as car stereos) to display content from an iPod. So, the iPhone 5 won't play well with vehicles or a few other accessories, but it should work just fine for stereos and alarm stands.