And it seems we're getting close to the answer concerning the other Apple crime against humanity: replacing the old dock connectors with something that STILL isn't micro-USB!
Seems that the lightning connector isn't just a connector; it has a chip inside it which is responsible for dynamically allocating the pins when the cable is plugged in.
The process seems pretty straightforward:
Plugging in the connector sends a short identifier request to the device (this also means that no power or signals traverse the cable until it is plugged into an iPhone or something). It says, 'hello, I'm a USB cable."
Or rather, "Hello, I'm a certified Apple USB cable."
The iPhone responds: "Are you now? In that case, I want you to use pin8 for power, pin 6 for incoming guff, pin4 for outgoing nonsense...."
If it's a Display port cable then the phone can allocate pin6 for power, pin8 for video, pin7 for sound...
So basically, the lightning connector will be able to cope with any protocol that comes up now or in the future.
This is not possible with MicrosUSB
And I'm sure that this will kill the market for cheap third-party cables stone dead.
And it may also explain why Apple isn't worried about USB3 support.