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Apple Now Shipping Lightning To 30-Pin Adapters

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the here-they-come dept.

Iphone 173

hcs_$reboot writes "Apple has started shipping the iPhone 5 Lightning connector to 30-pin adapters. Some iPhone 5 owners complained about its new connector being incompatible with the previously well known 30 pin connectors (iPhone 4S and before, iPod, iPad, and chargers). From the article: 'Apple's accessories page shows the adapter as available to ship in October, while one MacRumors reader said the e-mail notice pointed to a delivery day of October 9.'"

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Lockin (5, Insightful)

Mikkeles (698461) | about 2 years ago | (#41585777)

Well, that's one way to make money - gratuitous changes which you charge to fix.

Re:Lockin (3, Insightful)

Brad1138 (590148) | about 2 years ago | (#41585827)

Why the hell couldn't they go with Micro-USB like everyone else?

Re:Lockin (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41585871)

Because that is not proprietary and cannot be used to extract license fees from accessory makers

Re:Lockin (4, Funny)

errxn (108621) | about 2 years ago | (#41585897)

I'm $ure there'$ a perfectly good rea$on for them not to u$e a $tandard U$B connector format, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it i$. Anybody?

Mechanical improvement (5, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#41586873)

I'm $ure there'$ a perfectly good rea$on for them not to u$e a $tandard U$B connector format, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it i$. Anybody?

The real advantages to mini and micro-USB is that they are pretty much ubiquitous and relatively cheap - which are some big advantages. However the various USB connectors are kind of a crappy connectors from a mechanical standpoint. It is keyed in such a way that it isn't immediately obvious which way is the correct way to insert it without looking carefully or by trial and error. Also the mini and micro USB connectors themselves tend to be rather poorly made and need lots of external structural support. I've broken several and I'm not hard on my gear. My company manufactures some products that use them and IMO they aren't well designed mechanically. I don't love the lightning connector but from a pure mechanical design standpoint the lightning connector is better. Electrically and financially and socially I see no advantage to the new connector to most of us.

Re:Mechanical improvement (1)

admdrew (782761) | about 2 years ago | (#41587499)

I've purchased shittily made 3rd party micro-USB adapters (usually car chargers, or those 'universal' charge kits), but the stock ones that come with phones (I've had Motorola, HTC, and Samsung) have been very well built. I never really had trouble with orientation when plugging in, but I understand how that can be an issue.

I feel for my iPhone-owning friends, the new adapter thing is ridiculous. I fully love taking advantage of being able to charge my phone just about wherever I go, since a lot of people I know have micro-USB cables lying around somewhere.

Re:Mechanical improvement (2)

Tarlus (1000874) | about 2 years ago | (#41588279)

Not only that, but micro USB chargers are so common and inexpensive that you could pick one up at a gas station for like $5 if needed.

Re:Mechanical improvement (3, Interesting)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | about 2 years ago | (#41589099)

I am very hard on my gear - my Droid X I dropped 6-7 times (twice in the water) never once did that Micro-USB connector ever fail to work properly. When I got rid of the phone it was covered in scratches and chips.

My GF's iPhone however - the connector housing developed a crack and began to fall apart.

I don't buy that Micro-USB is flimsy.

Re:Lockin (4, Funny)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#41586933)

Man, we could really use a lowercase $ for posts like that...

Re:Lockin (1)

roninmagus (721889) | about 2 years ago | (#41587001)

m$ m$ m$ ... apple ($?) CRAP no good place to put it.

Re:Lockin (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41587675)

Crapple. 'nuf said.

Re:Lockin (2)

DrEasy (559739) | about 2 years ago | (#41587805)

Just in time for the latest XKCD! http://xkcd.com/1118/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Lockin (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41588461)

You mean, like this? App£e?

Re:Lockin (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41588657)

What about Appl€?

Re:Lockin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41589129)

How would you manage to make the micro-USB plug give you digital audio and video in HDMI? VGA-output? Analog low level audio out? Serial connection for remote control and display?

Most phones with micro-USB also seem to have to have a micro-HDMI next to it, and suddenly the whole thing combined is as big as the old 30-pin.

Re:Lockin (2)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41585929)

Massive missed opportunity... if Apple had gone for USB on the iPhone 5, it would have escaped the "minor upgrade" zone. Ah well, Cook is an operations guy, not a visionary. A bit late now.

Re:Lockin (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41585945)

Why the hell do we have to go over the technology of the connector every time it comes up in an article?
 
http://techpinions.com/why-apple-couldnt-go-to-micro-usb-charging/10212
 
Now don't ask again. Jesus.

Re:Lockin (4, Insightful)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41586183)

Why the hell do we have to go over the technology of the connector every time it comes up in an article?
http://techpinions.com/why-apple-couldnt-go-to-micro-usb-charging/10212 [techpinions.com]
Now don't ask again. Jesus.

Blasphemy rarely helps with creating a compelling argument. The article you have linked to suggests a gain of 10% in charge time as the reason for choosing an incompatible standard. That is not a significant reason for not accepting the industry standard...and the ethical one.

Re:Lockin (1)

kiriath (2670145) | about 2 years ago | (#41588267)

The article suggests the safety of using a micro USB connector for higher load devices is the issue, not necessarily the gain of 10%. At what percentage does it become ok? 30%? 50%?

The micro USB Connector is a piece of junk, why oh WHY would you want to curse MORE devices with it? Seriously.

Just because it is a "Standard" doesn't make it the best connector for the job.

Let's take for example the "Standard" laptop connector (You know, the round one with the pin in the middle that constantly breaks it's connector free from the motherboard of the laptop), vs the magnetic laptop connector on the MacBook line. Would you argue that the infinitely more fragile "Standard" laptop adapter is in *any* way better than the magnetic connector? It is not, not in the slightest. I *happily* pay more for the power adaptor knowing that it is going to be far better in the long run. I don't have to treat it gingerly, or make plugging it or unplugging it some sort of slow ritual. It just works, and it works well.

Re:Lockin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41586063)

Because it can't transfer enough power to charge an iPad.

Re:Lockin (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41587085)

Because it can't transfer enough power to charge an iPad.

Oh, and why can my Nexus 7 charge over USB, with a more powerful processor than the iPad?

Ligntning is superior mechanically (5, Insightful)

swb (14022) | about 2 years ago | (#41586105)

I own a bunch of micro-USB devices and I think that connector blows, at least mechanically. It's keyed, so it requires a specific orientation, and it's small so it's hard to differentiate the orientation, especially once presbyopia sets in.

The lightning connector has no specific orientation and I find it much easier to connect, especially in the dark.

The jury's out on whether or not there's any technical advantage to lightning over micro-USB as a connector or connector protocol. I'm in the camp that says 30 pin had to go and lightning is a welcome change, but even as an iPhone fan I'm not convinced there isn't some profit motive behind all of this, especially all the restrictions and apparent secrecy surrounding the device and adapters.

Re:Ligntning is superior mechanically (1)

GeniusDex (803759) | about 2 years ago | (#41586225)

Samsung managed to solve the orientation-issue: their connector is assymetric, with the wire not being in the middle but at the right side if the connector is facing up ( http://www.world-of-accessories.co.uk/images/medium/120411130643.jpg [world-of-a...ries.co.uk] ). I have no problem at all with getting it the right way: i just have to see (or feel) the connector.

Re:Ligntning is superior mechanically (3, Insightful)

Necroman (61604) | about 2 years ago | (#41586343)

That can still be ambiguous. Sure, after using it for a bit, users would learn by feel which way is the right way. But how do you know which way connector should go into the device without trial and error?

There may be an arrow on the device to help you align it, but that's still only part-way there (especially with how many people put their mobile devices in cases).

Re:Ligntning is superior mechanically (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41586643)

Are you challenged? Do you have some sort of cognitive disability? does a nurse wipe your bum for you?

Re:Ligntning is superior mechanically (0, Troll)

Tharkkun (2605613) | about 2 years ago | (#41587569)

That can still be ambiguous. Sure, after using it for a bit, users would learn by feel which way is the right way. But how do you know which way connector should go into the device without trial and error?

There may be an arrow on the device to help you align it, but that's still only part-way there (especially with how many people put their mobile devices in cases).

Apple has you by the balls. They make you believe that it's so inconvenient to spend an extra 2 seconds looking at your device that you should spend an additional $30 an adapter rather than using a standard.

Re:Ligntning is superior mechanically (0)

mickwd (196449) | about 2 years ago | (#41588393)

"That can still be ambiguous. Sure, after using it for a bit, users would learn by feel which way is the right way. But how do you know which way connector should go into the device without trial and error?"

"There may be an arrow on the device to help you align it, but that's still only part-way there..."

God help you if you ever get the chance to "recharge" a woman...

Re:Ligntning is superior mechanically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41588497)

That can still be ambiguous. Sure, after using it for a bit, users would learn by feel which way is the right way. But how do you know which way connector should go into the device without trial and error?

Well, unless you're an idiot, you can figure out how to insert a USB cable. Even my 4-year old nephew can plug in a USB cable.

And for you idiots, there actually is a standard for USB port orientation. Look at the USB cable plugs.

USB ports and cables are oriented so that the printed logo on the cable end is facing the user when the user inserts the cable into the jack.

Re:Ligntning is superior mechanically (1)

swb (14022) | about 2 years ago | (#41586821)

That's a kludge, and it also means nothing relative to all the other non-Samsung micro-USB devices and cables I use.

Re:Ligntning is superior mechanically (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41586785)

Like when a simple OS version change now made all my existing cables and most of my 3rd party dock accessories "not compatible with this device".

They worked the day before..

Thankfully we have 're-supported' but i shouldn't have had to jailbreak my iPhone to use what i was using just fine the day before.

No greed here. Grumble.

Re:Ligntning is superior mechanically (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41587205)

I own a bunch of micro-USB devices and I think that connector blows, at least mechanically. It's keyed, so it requires a specific orientation, and it's small so it's hard to differentiate the orientation, especially once presbyopia sets in.

If this was the reason then Apple should have proposed an alternate USB connecter instead of an entirely incompatible signalling scheme. It worked for nano-SIM didn't it? Not that I think either is a good idea. Resizing the SIM saved hardly any space at all and any departure from USB standards means sometimes not having access to power, or USB connectivity when you need it.

Re:Ligntning is superior mechanically (1)

srussia (884021) | about 2 years ago | (#41587787)

The lightning connector has no specific orientation and I find it much easier to connect, especially in the dark.

You must be fun at "parties" (wink, wink)!

Re:Lockin (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#41586119)

Everyone here is talking about licence fees, but I don't think that's it. I think they want to maintain segregation of the accessories market. The iPhone is a very expensive phone, even for it's (quite impressive) specifications - success depends upon being seen not just as 'another phone' to compete with all those much cheaper models by other manufacturers, but as a whole class in itsself. A distinction much easier to maintain if the iPhone can't even plug into accessories made for 'common' brands, and vice versa. The last thing Apple wants is for their customers to realise that a high-end android phone can do very nearly everything an iPhone can, but at less than half the price.

Re:Lockin (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#41588407)

Well, if that was the case, Apple should have rigged it so it can only charge on 400 Hz AC, like you seen in aircraft. Now that would be exclusive.

Re:Lockin (3, Insightful)

Revotron (1115029) | about 2 years ago | (#41586125)

Because the MicroUSB connectors are ridiculously flimsy and prone to failure by mechanical stress?

Seriously, they are. I've gone through a handful of MicroUSB phone chargers trying to find the one that fits just right in my Android phone with a MicroUSB charging port. Bump the phone ever so slightly and the battery stops charging. And before you say "get a new phone", it's happened before on other phones. It does this because MicroUSB is terribly designed and terribly built. Maybe Apple wanted something that would actually stand the test of time. I have an iPod and various iPod cables from 6 years ago that still make a perfect connection despite thousands of insertions.

Re:Lockin (2)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | about 2 years ago | (#41586399)

Oddly enough, Micro-USB was specifically designed with the exact complaint you have in mind. While it is smaller than the Mini-USB it replaced, that was secondary to its main purpose, which was to improve durability. Not only is it supposed to be more durable in terms of the number of times it can be inserted/removed, but it is also designed such that, when it fails, the (most likely cheaper) cord will be the part to break rather than the (most likely more expensive) device. I'd cite a source but I can't pick which one - look up any documentation on Micro-USB and you'll read the same thing.

For what it is worth, in my personal experience, I have not seen any such issues with Micro-USB. The only times I can recall in which I've seen them fail have been because the cord itself - well away from the connector - was damaged, such as by a wheeled chair rolling over them. However, I have seen a number of the just replaced Apple connectors causing issues. For example, this summer, I've seen an iPod where the connection on the device - not the cord - was bent to one side so that the cord-side connector would not fit in. Mind you this wasn't so terrible - I repaired it with a thin knife and a careful hand - but still, in my personal experience, the old Apple connector has a significantly worse record than the Micro-USB.

Re:Lockin (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 2 years ago | (#41586653)

Oddly enough, Micro-USB was specifically designed with the exact complaint you have in mind. While it is smaller than the Mini-USB it replaced, that was secondary to its main purpose, which was to improve durability. Not only is it supposed to be more durable in terms of the number of times it can be inserted/removed, but it is also designed such that, when it fails, the (most likely cheaper) cord will be the part to break rather than the (most likely more expensive) device. I'd cite a source but I can't pick which one - look up any documentation on Micro-USB and you'll read the same thing.

For what it is worth, in my personal experience, I have not seen any such issues with Micro-USB. The only times I can recall in which I've seen them fail have been because the cord itself - well away from the connector - was damaged, such as by a wheeled chair rolling over them. However, I have seen a number of the just replaced Apple connectors causing issues. For example, this summer, I've seen an iPod where the connection on the device - not the cord - was bent to one side so that the cord-side connector would not fit in. Mind you this wasn't so terrible - I repaired it with a thin knife and a careful hand - but still, in my personal experience, the old Apple connector has a significantly worse record than the Micro-USB.

I've had a 50% failure rate on device manufacturer supplied micro-USB ports. I think that micro-USB failed to meet its design goal of durability. Mini-USB, supposedly expected to fail in many fewer plug/unplug cycles than micro-USB, has 0% failure rate in my experience. My sample size for micro-USB is approaching 20 and mini-USB is around 40. I suspect that the performance testing done on USB connectors must be robot-run perfectly aligned plug/unplug cycling rather than real world plugging things in while looking somewhere else or in the dark.

I disliked the old Apple connector and haven't tried the new one, but even if it's significantly better I'd still prefer to use the very flawed micro-USB just because I have tons of them sitting around the house.

Cheap to make but annoying to use (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#41587059)

Oddly enough, Micro-USB was specifically designed with the exact complaint you have in mind. While it is smaller than the Mini-USB it replaced, that was secondary to its main purpose, which was to improve durability

If that is true, they failed in my opinion. I'm looking at a broken female surface mount Micro-usb connector as I type this. Thin gauge metal, poor strain relief, finicky to insert and basically requires significant structural reinforcement for real world use. I say this as someone who manufactures electrical harnesses for a living. Furthermore I very much dislike the fact that it has a keyed insertion. They easily could have made it key-less with a few more terminals. It was designed to be cheap to manufacture rather than easy to use.

Re:Lockin (1, Interesting)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41586449)

Because the MicroUSB connectors are ridiculously flimsy and prone to failure by mechanical stress?

Seriously, they are. I've gone through a handful of MicroUSB phone chargers trying to find the one that fits just right in my Android phone with a MicroUSB charging port. Bump the phone ever so slightly and the battery stops charging. And before you say "get a new phone", it's happened before on other phones. It does this because MicroUSB is terribly designed and terribly built. Maybe Apple wanted something that would actually stand the test of time. I have an iPod and various iPod cables from 6 years ago that still make a perfect connection despite thousands of insertions.

I couldn't stop laughing at this. It was the funniest thing ever. seriously even the cheapest cables off ebay fit and work. Your a liar. As for the old connector. I have a broken iPhone in a drawer which snapped at the connector. I had to get a new phone.

Re:Lockin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41587315)

Your an idiot.

Re:Lockin (1, Insightful)

Revotron (1115029) | about 2 years ago | (#41587397)

Sorry, my personal experience doesn't match your personal experience. I guess that makes me 100% wrong because everything you know is the absolute truth with no possibility for exception. I guess I must be lying about how my HTC Sensation only maintains a solid charging status with 1 out of my 5 MicroUSB chargers. I guess there must be a glitch in the Matrix or something because theoretically MicroUSB isn't supposed to have these problems, so it must work perfectly and I must be so full of shit!

"Your" an idiot. Go play in traffic.

Re:Lockin (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41589135)

Sorry, my personal experience doesn't match your personal experience. I guess that makes me 100% wrong because everything you know is the absolute truth with no possibility for exception. I guess I must be lying about how my HTC Sensation only maintains a solid charging status with 1 out of my 5 MicroUSB chargers. I guess there must be a glitch in the Matrix or something because theoretically MicroUSB isn't supposed to have these problems, so it must work perfectly and I must be so full of shit! "Your" an idiot. Go play in traffic.

;) Its a cable. Not a subjective opinion on a work of art; interface; complex device, and one which I own/use several with several devices. Its as effective as a cable from everything from Full size USB; Kettle Leads; HDMI Leads; Ethernet, and everything else well leady!! but you don't have to believe be on Amazon a top retailers the USB-to-Micro USB cable receives 5stars :) from as voted by 1,500 people for a Cable costing peanuts. The top lightening cables get 3 stars[for one with a usb end] and cost significantly higher.

Re:Lockin (1)

Tharkkun (2605613) | about 2 years ago | (#41587595)

Because the MicroUSB connectors are ridiculously flimsy and prone to failure by mechanical stress? Seriously, they are. I've gone through a handful of MicroUSB phone chargers trying to find the one that fits just right in my Android phone with a MicroUSB charging port. Bump the phone ever so slightly and the battery stops charging. And before you say "get a new phone", it's happened before on other phones. It does this because MicroUSB is terribly designed and terribly built. Maybe Apple wanted something that would actually stand the test of time. I have an iPod and various iPod cables from 6 years ago that still make a perfect connection despite thousands of insertions.

Replace the cable. It's not the port.

Re:Lockin (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41588881)

Either the socket was crap or you enjoy swinging your phone overhead by the USB cable. The micro USB connector on my Android is quite solid. It has never lost contact due to being bumped.

Re:Lockin (3, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#41586145)

Why the hell couldn't they go with Micro-USB like everyone else?

Because MicroUSB is a terrible connector. They already had a proprietary connector and just swapped it for another type with the function they wanted.

I know MicroUSB has features that allow it to adapt and output HDMI, or analog audio etc, but Apple wanted a more adaptable (although obviously proprietary) connector. I'm going to assume that one of the biggest points on the checklist was "support for more current and/or voltage than USB" since the connector is designed for all iOS devices and the current generation iPad is already struggling with the meagre amount they can push over USB (even when already exceeding the original 500 mA limit).

Back on topic, I will not be the first to say, but how is this news? It's an adapter that is now shipping. Other than another chance for some page hits and ad revenue I'd hardly qualify this as something the public really needs to know. Anyone who has one on order has been emailed that their adapter has shipped, surely?

Re:Lockin (5, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#41586437)

At first, I was annoyed at the new connector (though I doubt I'll have any need to use it for a while, and when I do, I have practically no accessories to replace). It seemed to be a remarkable waste of engineering for something that could have just been standardized.

Now that I know more about the connector, I'm genuinely hoping that Apple miraculously opens up to the world and Lightning becomes the new standard. It's reversible, adaptable, sturdy (at least it appears to be), and smaller than the 30-pin connector. iFixit had an interesting perspective (that I'm too lazy to look up) that the smaller connector allowed more components to fit in the bottom of the new and slimmer iPhone.

I like the idea of adaptable connectors. Not just where you ground a certain pin to toggle the function of another pin, but where the cable and device actively communicate to negotiate what features are available on what pins.

Since my dream of Apple playing nice with others is probably impossible, are there any other well-defined connectors (preferably without patents) out there that offer the same (or even similar) amounts of adaptability?

Re:Lockin (1)

oji-sama (1151023) | about 2 years ago | (#41589067)

I like the idea of adaptable connectors. Not just where you ground a certain pin to toggle the function of another pin, but where the cable and device actively communicate to negotiate what features are available on what pins.

I like the adaptable connector idea as well. But why does the cable do the negotiating and not the connected device? More than likely the device and the phone will still have to negotiate if just to ensure that the device is in fact a working one.

Re:Lockin (1)

teg (97890) | about 2 years ago | (#41587053)

Because MicroUSB is a terrible connector. They already had a proprietary connector and just swapped it for another type with the function they wanted.

I know MicroUSB has features that allow it to adapt and output HDMI, or analog audio etc, but Apple wanted a more adaptable (although obviously proprietary) connector.

Does MicroUSB allow this? I thought MicroUSB only handled USB data transfers, if it can handle more that would be very useful... and it also affects the reason I believe Apple chose another connector: It does many other things, like video and audio.

Re:Lockin (1)

teg (97890) | about 2 years ago | (#41587165)

Because MicroUSB is a terrible connector. They already had a proprietary connector and just swapped it for another type with the function they wanted.

I know MicroUSB has features that allow it to adapt and output HDMI, or analog audio etc, but Apple wanted a more adaptable (although obviously proprietary) connector.

Does MicroUSB allow this? I thought MicroUSB only handled USB data transfers, if it can handle more that would be very useful... and it also affects the reason I believe Apple chose another connector: It does many other things, like video and audio.

Found it myself - MHDL [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Lockin (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#41587201)

Because MicroUSB is a terrible connector. They already had a proprietary connector and just swapped it for another type with the function they wanted.

I know MicroUSB has features that allow it to adapt and output HDMI, or analog audio etc, but Apple wanted a more adaptable (although obviously proprietary) connector.

Does MicroUSB allow this? I thought MicroUSB only handled USB data transfers, if it can handle more that would be very useful... and it also affects the reason I believe Apple chose another connector: It does many other things, like video and audio.

Yes it does - I was also under the impression that it couldn't do more than USB but someone else posted a link to MHL which is a standard on some Android and other handsets that can reassign the pins to enable HDMI and other protocols with the right cables and adapters.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_High-Definition_Link [wikipedia.org]

The physical port itself is just not very nice though, and when going for a huge change they might as well go for something that has good physical characteristics.

Re:Lockin (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | about 2 years ago | (#41586735)

Probably because micro-usb sucks.
I've gone through way too many microusb connections on phones and cables. After going with the iphone 3gs (still use it), I've had absolutely no trouble with connections either cable-related nor phone connector-related. That's a good real-world example.

Re:Lockin (1)

Tharkkun (2605613) | about 2 years ago | (#41587521)

Why the hell couldn't they go with Micro-USB like everyone else?

That's not the Apple way.

Re:Lockin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41587939)

Because MIcro-Usb doesn't do video. All Android devices I've seen have Micro-USB for data and charging and Micro-HDMI for media.

Re:Lockin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41588135)

Since when does Micro-usb do analogue video and audio out?

Oh right...

Re:Lockin (1)

wavedeform (561378) | about 2 years ago | (#41588197)

Why the hell couldn't they go with Micro-USB like everyone else?

Because they wanted to offer more functionality. For example, the Lightning / 30 pin adaptor has an audio DAC in it, to drive line level. You can argue that if they couldn't preserve this DAC internally, they shouldn't have made the iPhone so small, but wanting to enable extra functionality by having a very flexible I/O scheme, while making the phone very small, seems like a reasonable engineering tradeoff, to me.

Re:Lockin (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41585831)

Not only that, but they've made it difficult to clone. Apparently all those cheap aftermarket accessories without the Apple Tax added on were really pissing off the management at Apple.

Re:Lockin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41588167)

I doubt there is anything special about the connector that Chinese manufacturers can't figure out how to cheaply reproduce en masse.

We'll see Chinese-made Thunderbolt chargers on eBay in a month or two. Guaranteed.

Re:Lockin (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#41589205)

Well, that's one way to make money - gratuitous changes which you charge to fix.

Riiiiiight, except Apple priced themselves out of it so they won't "make money" for long. It won't be long before MUCH cheaper 3rd party ones show up for a fraction of the cost. Not all are the best quality but if you even go to 1/2 the price, you can get a really decent one of anything that they've made in the past.

Why does Apple use its own connectors? (0)

PieDude (2745317) | about 2 years ago | (#41585803)

Why they use their own connectors instead of the industry standard mini-usb?

Re:Why does Apple use its own connectors? (2)

Brad1138 (590148) | about 2 years ago | (#41585859)

Why they use their own connectors instead of the industry standard micro-usb?

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Why does Apple use its own connectors? (0)

Bigby (659157) | about 2 years ago | (#41585949)

Because Apple is too cool to use standard USB connectors.

Re:Why does Apple use its own connectors? (1)

JazzLad (935151) | about 2 years ago | (#41588809)

I want to know why we aren't using inductive charging (Apple, Android, everyone) ... Say what you will about the horrible mismanagement at Palm before and after HP, but the inductive charger is soooo nice! Just set the bloody thing down close to the right way, the magnets align it perfectly & it chirps to let you know it is charging. Doesn't work for data transfer, but how often do I really need to do that - besides, combine it with NFC & do we really need a plug? Genuine question.

Micro USB? (1, Interesting)

ZiakII (829432) | about 2 years ago | (#41585845)

Is there any real reason besides vendor lock in that the Apple connector does differently then Micro-USB?

Re:Micro USB? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41585941)

Think different. Spend more. Be cool.

Apple fans are the only crowd that think Monster brand cables are too cheap.

Monster cable pricing (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41586639)

Apple fans are the only crowd that think Monster brand cables are too cheap.

One of the few? Yes. The only? No. I was buying a component video cable for my Wii console a few years ago, and Monster's was $10 cheaper than Nintendo's.

Re:Micro USB? (-1, Flamebait)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41585957)

Stupidity?

Re:Micro USB? (1, Informative)

CaptBubba (696284) | about 2 years ago | (#41585989)

The commonly stated reason is that the connector includes stuff like an HDMI interface. Now of course that ignores the fact there exists standards which integrate such things into a micro-usb connector, such as MHL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_High-Definition_Link [wikipedia.org]

So it is part functionality, and part lock-in.

Re:Micro USB? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#41586175)

A much weaker argument now. The Lightning connector has fewer pins, which means that many of those additional capabilities are gone.Including HDMI output. Another feature sacrificed in Apple's quest for thinness. Like corporate annorexia.

Re:Micro USB? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#41586247)

Also future flexibility. The adapter has 8 pins, and can carry more current (if you don't use a standard USB plug on the other end of the cable, otherwise it's limited to USB current and voltage obviously).

The MFI program is obviously important to them, so it doubtless had a part to play, but it's not like they intentionally set out to shun USB - the micro USB connector is ultimately a dead end, and it's also somewhat small and fiddly. They want a connector that will be standard for them for the next several years (at least), so things like the next iPad will use it. The current one is barely coping with the limits of charging current on USB as it is. I fully expect them to start adding fast charging adapters that can go well over what you would be able to do with micro USB, along with other functions where you simply need more pins (even in the face of MHL).

Re:Micro USB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41586533)

How far past micro usb? My PlayBook fast charges with 2A.

Re:Micro USB? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#41586853)

How far past micro usb? My PlayBook fast charges with 2A.

That's 10 watts - the current Apple power adapter and 30 pin dock connector can provide that, and it's barely enough for the battery in the iPad 3. I can only imagine it will get worse as time goes on. That's about as much as you can really push over USB, or we would have exceeded it long ago.

Re:Micro USB? (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41586829)

idevices i can play spotify, pandora and playlists through my car's USB port and control via the steering wheel

with my android phone it seems it only plays the music on the memory card in alphabetical order, not in the playlist order

Two advantages (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#41587273)

Is there any real reason besides vendor lock in that the Apple connector does differently then Micro-USB?/quote.

Only two reasons I can think of. One is that MicroUSB is kind of a crappy design mechanically. Electrically it is fine and it is cheap and ubiquitous, but mechanically it has numerous failings. Lightning is a better design mechanically. The other reason is that having more pins allows the cable to do more functions than a serial cable. There is *some* advantage to the user with the lightning connector but for many there are probably more drawbacks including cost, lock-in, availability and did I mention cost?

Money Grab? (2, Insightful)

gonzo_ks (2471720) | about 2 years ago | (#41585861)

How is this anything but a money grab??

Re:Money Grab? (-1, Troll)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#41586273)

How is this anything but a money grab??

What do you mean? The act of charging money for a product and/or service? Yes, I suppose that could be boiled down to "a money grab".

If you mean why change the dock adapter in the first place? Well, that's been done to death and it had to happen sometime. The old one still had pins for Firewire data and power - no iOS device has shipped with a firewire controller for almost 5 years!

Re:Money Grab? (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41586337)

If you mean why change the dock adapter in the first place? Well, that's been done to death and it had to happen sometime. The old one still had pins for Firewire data and power - no iOS device has shipped with a firewire controller for almost 5 years!

Wasn't firewire that standard that Apple chose for its machines over USB...and Apple users claimed was better than USB.

Re:Money Grab? (2, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#41586637)

If you mean why change the dock adapter in the first place? Well, that's been done to death and it had to happen sometime. The old one still had pins for Firewire data and power - no iOS device has shipped with a firewire controller for almost 5 years!

Wasn't firewire that standard that Apple chose for its machines over USB...and Apple users claimed was better than USB.

No, they never claimed it was "better than USB" nor did they choose it "over USB" - they promoted both ports equally for what they were good at. USB was great for low bandwidth, hot pluggable devices like consumer scanners, printers, mice, card readers etc and Firewire was great for high bandwidth, low latency applications like hard drives, digital video, external sound cards etc. It's why all Macs at the time (and most to this day, less the Air and retina MBP) ship with both USB and Firewire ports side by side.

For those applications it was better than USB (at the time mostly USB 1 speed), but for the other applications like mice, keyboards, printers etc USB was much better. Even when USB was upgraded to 480 Mbs it was still inferior in practice to even the theoretically slower Firewire 400 due to the heavy CPU overhead of the USB protocol.

Removing the controller chip for Firewire from the iPod (and subsequently never including it in the iPhone etc) was purely a cost/benefit ratio - they did it at the same time they launched the iPod on Windows and at the time there was almost no penetration of Firewire on Windows machines so it was cheaper to just leave the controller chip out. You could still charge those early iPods on Firewire - and it was faster, since you could do 18 volts at about 7 watts, way more than USB, but eventually they also took that out of the newer models too. The pins have been wasted ever since, with some models using them for newer protocols but there's always the danger that someone *could* plug in an old Firewire>30 pin dock connector which has a +18V line and data pins, so the device has to be able to handle that and protect itself. Apple knew eventually that they would need to change the connector to something more modern.

Why? (1, Insightful)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#41585965)

Why is this news? The people who want the adapter have already ordered one, and they already received an email stating their adapter has been shipped. Is this just another excuse to rag on Apple for not going micro-USB (as if anyone anywhere thought they actually would)?

(Personally, I find the lack of standardized cables mildly annoying. However, I'm backward--I wish everyone would move to lightning cables, not micro-USB. Lightning is just nicer to use: it plugs in quicker without having to look, and you don't have to worry about orientation. Sadly, Apple will never work to make it a standard.)

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41586067)

What are you talking about, of course they're working to make it a standard.
The problem that keeps arising is that those cheap bastards from other companies don't want to pay a million dollars per charger in royalty fees.
Come on, it's not that unreasonable that Apple wants over 100% of your profit, get it together other companies!

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41586235)

No, the problem arises from those cheap bastards (like me) who just don't see that the iPhone(current_generation) is vastly superior in each and every way to all other phones, including the iPhone(previous_generations) which couldn't possibly be as cool because Apple has moved on and raised the bar on coolness.

After all, if everybody would just standardize on i(whatever) devices, there wouldn't be these ridiculous problems of different connectors. Oh, wait...until Apple decides to change it, in which case all those other connectors were crap anyway.

The one thing I'm not real clear on is what the hipsters would do if everybody actually did this and iPhones became much more common. Then they'd lose their cool factor and...what? The universe implodes in a massive black hole of un-coolness?

Re:Why? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41588967)

The hipsters would start using hard wired candlestick phones.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41586083)

The new adapters -are awesome- I've heard Tell...

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41586111)

Sadly, Apple will never work to make it a stand

Yes they are.. They expect everybody to buy an iPone/Pad. Isn't that standard enough?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41586171)

Wait... you're trying to tell me Apple changed the plug on something used on tons of devices around the world, making every instance of "the hottest selling smartphone in history" completely useless on said devices, and they DIDN'T have an adapter ready to go on day one of the phone's release, if not earlier?

Yeah, to me, that sort of IS news. I mean, granted, most companies that remotely care about their customers would've included this adapter in the box with the phone itself, given the supposed proliferation of devices using the old plug, but this is Apple, after all, so I guess we can't expect much more from them.

Re:Why? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#41588145)

Actually, that's an angle I didn't think of. Thanks.

Re:Why? (4, Interesting)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41586281)

Why is this news? The people who want the adapter have already ordered one, and they already received an email stating their adapter has been shipped. Is this just another excuse to rag on Apple for not going micro-USB (as if anyone anywhere thought they actually would)?

(Personally, I find the lack of standardized cables mildly annoying. However, I'm backward--I wish everyone would move to lightning cables, not micro-USB. Lightning is just nicer to use: it plugs in quicker without having to look, and you don't have to worry about orientation. Sadly, Apple will never work to make it a standard.)

See how you tried to spin that. Personally I think this is another minor Apple advertisement that we are constantly subjected to. I personally find it appalling that Apple have not followed the spirit of the EU directive, but then I'm not interested in defending them.

However I'm not biased--I wish companies would follow open standards...and work with others to improve and refine them. Rather than use their market share to create propriety, closed standards like Sony of old. Sadly Apple have no interest in working with others only taking them to court.

Re:Why? (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41587299)

I personally find it appalling that Apple have not followed the spirit of the EU directive

Not to mention the glued-in batteries.

Re:Why? (2)

papasui (567265) | about 2 years ago | (#41587539)

So a different opinion than yours is an advertisement for Apple? Lightning (in my opinion, no spin added) is a nicer connector as far as plugging things in are concerned vs micro usb. Ever fumble around trying to plug a android phone in the dark? I have because I have both an HTC Desire (loaded with cyangenmod) and a iPhone 5. So is that worth skipping usb for? Jury's out. As far as which phone I happen to prefer, well I find myself using my iPhone more but then I'm not a real geek since I've only been using linux since Slackware 3. In short, acting like your defending your girlfriend's honor over any critcism of a product is pretty fucking lame. Appreciate tech for what it is, not a religious experience.

Re:Why? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#41588223)

Spin? What did I spin? My parenthetical opinion? It was all true:

1. I do find the lack of standardized cables mildly annoying. I had to charge my Kindle the other night, and only had an iPhone cable upstairs, so I had to go downstairs to grab a micro-USB cable. Mildly annoying, but not terrible.

2. The new connector is nicer to use than micro-USB. It plugs in quicker and easier, and it's easier to tell that it's all the way in. Plus, it's reversible.

3. I don't see it becoming a standard that other manufacturers adopt, which is unfortunate in light of #2.

Just because I have an opinion that's different from Slashdot groupthink (in that, having used the connector, I actually like it), it doesn't mean that I'm trying to spin anything.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#41587751)

Why is this news?

Because it's an opportunity for the hourly Two Minute Hate.

Nice-looking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41586013)

Just saw the length of the shortest adapter... Added to the increased iPhone 5 length, that will surely look nice on your speakers-dock! For a company partly insisting on neat designs, that's strange!

TCB (LIGHTNING BOLT) !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41586051)

Elvis already did it !!

Heed my words !!

The Time of Apple has Come and PASSED !! What lies ahead, all down, is the only way !!

Or to say it another way, the End is Coming !! (for Apple).

Active Cable? (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | about 2 years ago | (#41586155)

I'm sure I read somewhere that lighning cables are active, i.e. they have circuitry, chips etc, rather than just being copper cable. Same here? (would explain the price a bit I guess)

Lightning, not Maps, is the iPhone 5's big problem (4, Insightful)

swb (14022) | about 2 years ago | (#41586583)

I support the change to the lightning connector for the most part -- it's a mechanically superior connector to 30 pin and to micro-USB (which keyed and difficult to orient in low-light conditions due to its size).

But I think Apple really fucked up when it came to the lightning connector in terms of third party accessory availability, adapter availability and adapter functionality.

First of all, it should have been rolled out with the iPad 3 first. iPad physical connectivity and portability is less common and it would have given developers lead time to get all kinds of accessories ready for iPhone 5.

On the day that the phone was rolled out Apple should have had a 30 pin adapter available that replicated all thirty pin functionality outside of video. There's just no excuse for a delay of nearly a month for Apple-supplied adapters to an Apple-designed interface. They also should have had a lightning-HDMI adapter available (AFAIK, no HDMI interface is even announced let alone available).

My understanding is that the 30 pin adapter they are selling provides analog audio but not iPod control -- why is that? Either iPod control isn't available over lightning at all or there must be some other good reason the adapter couldn't provide it. The lack of iPod control breaks a huge amount of functionality in things that aren't easily swapped out (ie, cars).

Furthermore, Apple should have begun sharing Lightning technical info and approving designs with third parties so that they could have had devices ready for roll out. This whole "secret development" and the dog-and-pony introduction event has kind of run its course in many ways and keeping the interface a secret from partners really doesn't accomplish much except punish users.

It remains to be seen whether Apple will realize that a more restrictive adapter and strangleholds on the technology and licensing of it actually hurts them and the ecosystem more than it helps. Part of me wonders how much of this is pure profiteering on Apple's part (IMHO, that's too simple) but part of me also thinks that some of this is a desire to manage DRM and other types of control by restricting who can make a cable and what it can do.

If there aren't a lot of third party products, adapters, etc out before Christmas (ie, Thanksgiving...) this might be a kind of "Waterloo" for Apple.

Re:Lightning, not Maps, is the iPhone 5's big prob (1)

cheros (223479) | about 2 years ago | (#41588511)

It remains to be seen whether Apple will realize that a more restrictive adapter and strangleholds on the technology and licensing of it actually hurts them and the ecosystem more than it helps

Apple seems to be doing rather well with this approach, and has been for years.

Sometimes you can be in a position to dictate change, and Apple certainly is. There are a lot of benefits to the new connector and Lightning in general, and Apple is thus pushing through a change it thinks is beneficial - not just for itself, but for the technology path it has chosen. Adding the connector to each device would have given you the PS/2 effect - with every mouse comes a bit of extra stuff that needs to go into the trashcan. Rather let those who need it buy it, or buy new kit when it's released. The "iPod" connector has had its day, and has been not the best connector they have ever come up with.

Of course, they can also get it wrong (see how widespread Firewire is), but only time will tell and without being 100% behind a change, Apple would look like it's not certain about this new direction - also not a good idea.

Let's see how it pans out. At least there is now another device that connects to Lightning :).

Re:Lightning, not Maps, is the iPhone 5's big prob (1)

swb (14022) | about 2 years ago | (#41589185)

From what I've read, Apple has gotten really strict about lightning product licensing, product design and manufacturing, requiring only licensed factories to be able to make third party products.

To me this means that they are trying to limit what the connector can do by limiting who can make them, probably by trying to keep the interface chips locked down. This may be all "sane" business strategy when dealing with Chinese manufacturing (ie, keep quality high, minimize pirated products not paying licensing fees, etc) or it may all be designed to keep people from coming up with unique uses for the interface or producing functionality Apple doesn't "want" like external storage or some other feature.

IMHO, adoption of the new connector vs. legacy 30 pin use would happen pretty organically. An adapter is nice, but it's really very marginally useful in most circumstances (ie, not at all in stand-up dock type devices like boomboxes or clock radios) and ultimately device makers would simply stop making new 30 pin devices or come up with a *reverse* adapter that allowed 30 pins devices to work on lightning docks for all the legacy devices out there.

The people who have a real right to bitch are partners making expensive, high-end stuff who now have inventory "not designed for iPhone 5". How fun is it to be a Mercedes salesman pushing an $85,000 car that can't connect to an iPhone?

Yet another Apple story (0)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about 2 years ago | (#41586737)

that was obviously pushed on the Firehose by the haters so they could complain about it. Don't you have anything better to do?

How Much? (0)

AndyKron (937105) | about 2 years ago | (#41587339)

$30-$40 for a cable? Fuck Apple.

Actually it's saving you money! (1)

andrewa (18630) | about 2 years ago | (#41588191)

Re:Actually it's saving you money! (1)

Mr. Droopy Drawers (215436) | about 2 years ago | (#41588583)

hey, it's only $1 a pin... What's your gripe?

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