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Apple Announces a Trade-in Program For Third-Party Chargers

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the apple-is-happy-to-charge-you dept.

Iphone 117

EliSowash writes "In response to recent reports of safety concerns around third-party chargers for iDevices, Apple announced today that beginning August 16, 2013, you can trade in your third-party adapter and purchase an official Apple charger at a 'special price' — $10 USD. From their website: 'To qualify, you must turn in at least one USB power adapter and bring your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to an Apple Retail Store or participating Apple Authorized Service Provider for serial number validation. The special pricing on Apple USB power adapters is limited to one adapter for each iPhone, iPad, and iPod you own and is valid until October 18, 2013.'"

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Smart move (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44492265)

It's a one-off of getting a garbage cheap charger and taking it in with ten zorkmids (they'll check off your i-doodad, so you can only do it once) and getting a first rate (well, Apple anyway) charger for a discount (from their usually high prices.)

Re: Smart move (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44492879)

Plus it gets you in their store...

dirty capitalists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44493507)

They're still making money on their walled garden locked in standards rejecting chargers. IOW, you're still getting ripped off.

Re:dirty capitalists (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44494703)

they're still making money just on the ten bucks.

the problem with the cheap chargers is that they're made by their manufacture to be sold at three-fitty

they should just sell 'em for the ten bucks...

Re:dirty capitalists (1)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#44497779)

I was wondering how the peanut gallery were going to try and spin this as anti-apple bullshit, congrats.

Re:Smart move, keeping there monopoly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44493801)

keeping there monopoly, this is the reason the just about went under to begin with, the wanted a monopoly on every device you could only get for there computers, unless it was made for Apple, or by Apple, you couldn't get a third party devices.

And I see they continue to do this with there idiot devices, this is what makes me irate over people and the media that continue to hail them as some sort of visionaries, they were never about building anything that would advance the tech industry or peoples lives, there were in it because the saw an opportunity to make money.

I have a couple of broken chargers... (2)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44492309)

and a couple of iPods...

So, $20 for a couple of Apple chargers, which I assume all charge everything non-Apple up to 500mA now? Is there a catch?

Re:I have a couple of broken chargers... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44492657)

They cost us less than $3 to make (I work in ordering). Add in S&H, packaging etc, and we're making over $5 per unit. Not a huge amount, and won't bring in the money we'd like, but from a PR perspective, we're top news on all decent tech sites and blogs at zero cost, planet wide. No other company can match us for such a trivial issue.

Re:I have a couple of broken chargers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44493103)

OMG those motherfuckers, how dare they make a profit.

Re:I have a couple of broken chargers... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44493265)

A woman was electrocuted to death from her iPhone5 while it was charging, and that is what kicked off this whole thing.

Its good to get confirmation from an iDrone that Apple indeed considers human life to be trivial.

All hail the Almighty Dollar.

Re:I have a couple of broken chargers... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44493761)

A woman was electrocuted to death by her crappy knock-off wall plug. It wouldn't have mattered what was on the other end of the USB cable.

Re:I have a couple of broken chargers... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44494463)

The speculation that it was a knock-off wall plug was from Apples press release.

From what I have seen of the original Apple plug it is just as likely that the back of the USB-connector connected with the transformer or buffer capacitor. The compact design is nice and all but I wouldn't assume that it is safe and I wouldn't assume that the wall plug was a knock-off based on Apples press release.

Re:I have a couple of broken chargers... (3, Funny)

GumphMaster (772693) | about a year ago | (#44494847)

electrocuted to death

Classic tautology. There is no other way to be electrocuted. Anything short of dying and it is not electrocution.

Re:I have a couple of broken chargers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44494441)

The Almighty Dollar is how life is valued, so, yes:

All hail the Almighty Dollar!

OR (1)

masterofthumbs (2881445) | about a year ago | (#44492315)

Or I could take that $10 and buy a thousand cheap knockoffs at wholesale prices straight from China and throw them out as they die.

Re:OR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44492349)

And apparently after you die, too.

Re:OR (4, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#44492363)

Or I could take that $10 and buy a thousand cheap knockoffs at wholesale prices straight from China and throw them out as they die.

The reason that Apple offers this exchange is not the risk that the charger could die.

Re:OR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44492369)

You are bad at math.

Re:OR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44492417)

or you can use 1 cheap knockoff charger, die . and take the 999 cheap knockoff chargers with you to your grave.

OR... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44492421)

they'll throw you out after YOU die.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2013/07/15/apple-investigating-claims-that-iphone-electrocuted-chinese-woman/

Re:OR... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44492569)

It's been weeks and still nobody has been able to CONFIRM whether it was a 3rd party charger or not? Seriously, it should take 30 seconds. This whole thing fucking stinks.

Re:OR... (2)

thesupraman (179040) | about a year ago | (#44492815)

ah yes, but the astroturf is DEEP on this one.

Who really made the charger? (3, Interesting)

Dialecticus (1433989) | about a year ago | (#44493139)

It's been weeks and still nobody has been able to CONFIRM whether it was a 3rd party charger or not? Seriously, it should take 30 seconds.

Exactly! I've been looking for anything that explicitly states whether the electrocution was caused by a counterfeit charger or a genuine one, and I have yet to find it. Instead I find cleverly worded PR from Cupertino that discusses the potential hazards of knock-off chargers, but without ever specifically stating that the charger in question wasn't one of their theirs. I find this curious.

Re:Who really made the charger? (4, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year ago | (#44494399)

According to all of the reports I've been able to find, it was handed over to the police following the death, and word soon came out via Chinese state media that the charger was "likely" a knock-off one, rather than the genuine article though they never actually confirmed that was the case. That may be the most we'll get out of them, however, given that the state media has already been caught using celebrities to astroturf [wsj.com] in an attempt to try and paint Apple in a bad light.

Re:Who really made the charger? (1)

Ecuador (740021) | about a year ago | (#44495305)

I'd also like to know that. I have an old iPhone 3GS that I use sometimes for Skype and my wife picked it up while it was charging through the USB port of a laptop and she received a generous shock! She has vowed to not go near any iphone ever again! So I was wondering if it was the cable (can't be sure if it is original or 3rd party, I have both and they look kind of similar) or something else. I mean, even if it is the cable, shouldn't the connector and iphone in general be designed in a way that it cannot shock you (without getting damaged itself)? Most of my devices have a micro-usb port and I never had a problem with cheap 3rd party usb cables...

Re:Who really made the charger? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#44496203)

In your situation, it's not the phone or the cable, it's the charger. There is obviously 220 Volt going into the charger. In a well-designed charger, that 220 Volt should not be able to go anywhere, including the cable.

And no device protects you from unexpected 220 Volt. Imagine someone attacking you with a cattleprod. Do you expect your iPhone to protect you from that?

Re:Who really made the charger? (1)

Ecuador (740021) | about a year ago | (#44496755)

What are you talking about? It was an iPhone charging on a USB port of a laptop. No charger involved, just the 5V USB, which is why I consider my case weirder.

Re:Who really made the charger? (1)

jaseuk (217780) | about a year ago | (#44497617)

Was your laptop plugged into the mains?

I get occassional slight buzzy shocks from certain Dell Laptops when on the mains, particularly if I touch low surface area aprts such as the speaker grills.

Probably nothing to do with the iPhone.

Jason

Re:Who really made the charger? (3)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#44497711)

Exactly! I've been looking for anything that explicitly states whether the electrocution was caused by a counterfeit charger or a genuine one, and I have yet to find it. Instead I find cleverly worded PR from Cupertino that discusses the potential hazards of knock-off chargers, but without ever specifically stating that the charger in question wasn't one of their theirs. I find this curious.

Well, considering said charger is probably in police evidence, and Apple probably doesn't have full access to it to verify its authenticity, we'll never find out until their investigation is done. Also being investigated is the possibility the house wiring is bad. Some knockoffs are so good it's hard to tell - the ones we see in the western world usually have tells like misspellings or oddball spacings in the text "Use only with info mat ion technology equipment". The knockoffs even go so far as to remove the "Designed by Apple" and the manufacturer (JET, Delta) trademarks to get around IP violation bans. It's why Apple shows the entire text of the charger - because you won't miss a logo that's not there.

If the knockoff guys spent the same effort in designing the charger that they did in evading and making the stuff look real, they'd do better than Apple or Samsung (the latter gets top marks for quality chargers).

What are you talking about? It was an iPhone charging on a USB port of a laptop. No charger involved, just the 5V USB, which is why I consider my case weirder.

Check your laptop's grounding - it appears to be floating. Your laptop charger is probably not completely isolated so it's letting some line voltage through the floating ground pin. I've seen it happen when 3 pin equipment is not connected to ground so it floats, putting a good 30VAC on the ground shielding. Touch that and you get a nice buzz.

You'll probably see the same if you touch the metal of your laptop when it's not ground referenced (e.g., you probably won't notice if you plug it into a monitor which grounds the laptop, but if you touch the VGA, DVI or HDMI shield, zap!). Of course, most laptops aren't metal and the metal Is hidden away so you'll probably inadvertently ground-reference it plugging in external stuff.

Re:OR (2)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44492423)

Are you from human resources?

Re:OR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44492441)

Assuming they don't explode or electrocute you [itweb.co.za] first.

Re:OR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44492449)

oh how clever. Dont forget to take your 999 unused chargers with you to the after life party.

Re:OR (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#44495345)

Until they fry your device.
Dave over at the EEVblog did a tear down of a few they are they are the absolute cheapest shit possible, and will hopefully die while not in use, otherwise they might end up frying w/e is attached to them.

Why proprietary chargers? (0)

Alex Vulpes (2836855) | about a year ago | (#44492399)

Perhaps this is a stupid question, but why does Apple like to use proprietary chargers/connectors so much in the first place?

It may be that poor-quality third-party chargers could damage the device. But then I have to ask, why are iDevices so fragile in the first place? It seems most other smartphones have a standard USB port and can work with any old 5V power supply.

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (1)

EvanED (569694) | about a year ago | (#44492455)

Perhaps this is a stupid question, but why does Apple like to use proprietary chargers/connectors so much in the first place?

How could they cell you a $20 cable to plug your phone into your computer if you could just buy a microUSB cable for 65 cents from monoprice?

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (3, Informative)

v1 (525388) | about a year ago | (#44492967)

How could they cell you a $20 cable to plug your phone into your computer if you could just buy a microUSB cable for 65 cents from monoprice?

I think you've missed the point. The sort of chargers you are suggesting people buy are the very ones that have been injuring people.

Apple's just turning the spin positive by deeply discounting replacement chargers. It also gets people into their store, and gives them lots of positive PR. They're still making a little bit of money off the chargers, too, it's not a giveaway.

I also found this nugget on Apple's info page especially interesting:

Due to the complexity of testing required to detect an unsafe or counterfeit adapter, Apple Retail and Apple Authorized Service Providers cannot advise you on the authenticity or safety of your adapter.

It would likely require physically smashing them open to identify a good counterfeit. So they'll even take back an authentic Apple charger. And it looks like in any condition, so you could for example, take in your dead adapter or drowned / clothswasher'd adapter and get a replacement on the cheap too. That's handy.

Knockoffs are cheap, but they're made cheaply. I recently got a cheap 3pk of usb to dock adapters for spares, and ended up needing one to replace an original that had been in use in my truck for the last two years, the cable at the dock finally started to fray. The first replacement... well it lasted a whole five days before the cable pulled out of the dock connector. It's confirmed, ya gets what ya pays for.

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (2, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | about a year ago | (#44493255)

I think you've missed the point. The sort of chargers you are suggesting people buy are the very ones that have been injuring people.

Um, yes and no.

I have yet to have my phone burst into flames, and I've charged it through a microUSB cable from my computer for... well, years. And believe me, it's not a $20 microUSB cable.

Actually, this [amazon.co.uk] is probably what I have, and that costs £1.84, or under $3. Is Apple really $17 better at making USB cables than Nokia? Or perhaps you're suggesting that my Gigabyte motherboard or Enermax PSU is just waiting to kill me through my phone?

I'm not denying that there are cheap, poor-quality counterfeits. But that's a different issue. There are lots of companies that are perfectly capable of making decent hardware. Apple using a proprietary cable reduces the choices you have of good quality replacements in order to gain, from the perspective of a non-Apple user, almost nothing aside from the opportunity to give Apple more money.

(Things are different for some of their other connectors, like the magnetic power cord.)

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44493783)

It's not the USB cable, it's the power supply.

http://www.righto.com/2012/03/inside-cheap-phone-charger-and-why-you.html

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (1)

EvanED (569694) | about a year ago | (#44493867)

You're missing my point, which is that companies other than Apple exist and many of them make good products. Just because there are companies that make really bad products too doesn't negate that fact.

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (1)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#44497881)

Article isn't about USB cables, it's about chargers. Methinks YOU are missing the point.

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#44495217)

Alex's point is probably that microUSB chargers, or connectors are standard, and even come w/ their phones. Once you've bought a Galaxy or Lumia or Blackberry, you can use the same charger to charge any of them. In my family, my sister has a Galaxy, her husband a Blackberry & I a Lumia. All of us use the same connector. But we can't charge her iPad or my iPod touch w/ it. And all the connectors came w/ their phones - we didn't buy anything else, but the result is that we have enough connectors around to share when someone's phone needs charging.

Just b'cos something is microUSB doesn't mean that it's junk. On the contrary, my old iPod connector is frayed, and I had to get a new one - they are pretty delicate, at the Apple end of the cord, not the USB end.

The other relevant question is that an USB connector just needs 4 signals - power, ground, V+ and V-. Apple's dock connector, OTOH, uses all sorts of other signals on that 30-pin connector - audio output lines, component video outputs, S-video outputs, serial transmit-receive signals and even firewire. So Apple essentially wants to support interfaces to all sorts of hardware, not just USB. But it does make their connector more fragile.

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (3, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44494413)

The same reason you can buy a $3 HDMI cable off monoprice while Best Buy will sell you one for $20 at the cheapest. As long as it meets specs, it should be fine. The problem is that they can charge this price if you really want one right now. Now the problem in this case wasn't that the charger was merely third-party. It was that it was counterfeit and didn't pass any safety checks because they didn't have to pass them. The counterfeits only have to look like and work long enough to pass off as a real one. If it blows up later, that's not their problem.

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44492457)

Perhaps this is a stupid question, but why does Apple like to use proprietary chargers/connectors so much in the first place?

Don't try to get a job in marketing.

They don't use proprietary chargers. (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#44492461)

why does Apple like to use proprietary chargers/connectors

They don't use proprietary chargers. The chargers have a standard USB port into which you can plug anything.

They use proprietary connectors on the phone end because they are smaller (at least now), also more usable (the current and old connectors are less prone to damage than micro-USB) are easier to attach (the current device plug can go in either way) and also can offer advanced capabilities instead of USB.

The chargers do have a special ability to deliver more power to an iOS device, but that's only because the charger is built to recognize when an iOS device is attached that can handle a larger power flow.

It may be that poor-quality third-party chargers could damage the device.

Generally they can't. But they can be badly grounded and damage you (which actually happened recently).

Re:They don't use proprietary chargers. (1)

sessamoid (165542) | about a year ago | (#44492509)

It may be that poor-quality third-party chargers could damage the device.

Generally they can't. But they can be badly grounded and damage you (which actually happened recently).

Quite true. The recently publicized case in China involved a third party charger that killed the user, but apparently left the iPhone still (somewhat) operational.

Re:They don't use proprietary chargers. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#44497507)

It sounds like if anything this boils down to a lack of regulation in China. These kinds of electrical devices are heavily regulated. So the idea that you need to buy an Apple branded product in order to be safe is just assinine. Every civilized country has a regulatory agency to make sure that electrical products aren't dangerous.

Although even the Chinese situation may simply be a matter of the numbers catching up to you. Sooner or later someone somewhere is likely to be the victim of that 1 in a billion manufacturing defect.

Given that Apple products come out of the same factories as everything else, that fruity logo is quite irrelevant.

Re:They don't use proprietary chargers. (2)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#44497921)

This isn't what the article is about. Apple are offering heavily discounted chargers to replace whatever busted ass genuine OR non genuine charger you may have. Apple will only guarantee chargers they produce. If you buy something else from some fly by night backyard counterfeiter in china, all bets are off. It may well be fine. It might not. Good luck claiming warranty or damages.

Re:They don't use proprietary chargers. (1)

Alex Vulpes (2836855) | about a year ago | (#44492513)

Ah, thank you! That actually makes a lot of sense.

Defective charger could indeed damage the phone... (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about a year ago | (#44492521)

if the phone has another connection to earth ground (say, through the audio jack connected to another piece of equipment), a damaging current could then flow to ground THROUGH the phone's internal circuitry.

Re:They don't use proprietary chargers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44492983)

why does Apple like to use proprietary chargers/connectors

They don't use proprietary chargers.

The chargers do have a special ability to deliver more power to an iOS device, but that's only because the charger is built to recognize when an iOS device is attached that can handle a larger power flow.

Nice doublethink there. We have a standard [usb.org] (go to the "Battery Charging" heading) way of supplying higher current, so if you use something else instead, that's damn well proprietary.

Yes, the USB-BC standard was released after millions of USB-charging iPhones were already out, so I've cut Apple a lot of slack for choosing to maintain compatibility (both ways: old iPod with new dock/charger, or new iPod/iPhone/iPad with old dock/charger) rather than getting with the standard. But now that they've switched to a new, inherently compatibility-breaking connector, there's no excuse for not simultaneously switching to the current USB Battery Charging specification.

Not many around period... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#44493823)

Over time Apple may support that spec. It seems somewhat new still (last updates were May 2012) and looking on Amazon there are not a lot of third party chargers that support it either.

It's also a bit unclear reading the spec that it can supply as high a voltage as the newer Apple chargers deliver, if the spec can't deliver as good performance then it may be a reason to stay away from it (and for other competitors not to use it also).

What other newer phones support this standard? That is unclear also.

The spec makes for an interesting read. I had not realize before that USB power pins are longer than the data pins. I guess that was traditionally to give a device a short time to power up before data requests started flowing? It makes it a bit tricky to properly detect if data will be present or not though, very timing dependent and I wonder if you could trick the standard just by sliding in the connection really slow...

Re:They don't use proprietary chargers. (3, Informative)

labnet (457441) | about a year ago | (#44493119)

Generally they can't. But they can be badly grounded and damage you (which actually happened recently).

The issue is not grounding, as all these chargers are double insulated, but rather creepage and dielectric isolation.
Creepage in electrical engineering terms is the safe distance between electrical conductors of a different potential.
There are tables we use depending on pollution level, voltage, and whether it is surface or air creepage.
Dielectric isolation is the method(s) used to prevent a direct connection between the high voltage input, and low voltage output.
Normally a transformer and opto couplers provide the isolation. Cheaping out, or poor design in this area, is the likely cause of the electrocution.

Checkout this link for a teardown on a cheap chinese fake apple charger.
http://www.eevblog.com/2012/11/20/eevblog-388-apple-clone-usb-charger-teardown/ [eevblog.com]

Re:They don't use proprietary chargers. (1)

jrumney (197329) | about a year ago | (#44494033)

The USB sockets on Apple chargers are propriatary. The chargers are capable of supplying 2.1A, but will only supply 500mA to devices compliant with the USB battery charging specification (which allows for up to 1.5A for charging).

Re:They don't use proprietary chargers. (1)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#44497965)

And the likely reason is that the charger has electronics in it that talk to the idevice. If it can't talk to the idevice, it likely falls back to the minimal safe charging rate to prevent excessive battery wear.

Re:They don't use proprietary chargers. (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#44495229)

The charger is USB on one end, but has a whole host of signals - audio, component video, S-video, Firewire. et al on the other. Question is - how does that even start to work, if one end of it is just USB?

Re:They don't use proprietary chargers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44495651)

The USB end does not carry these signals. The dock port supports these signals, and different docks/cables break them out differently to different connectors. The USB ones connect only USB. The ones with video output ports connect video output, etc.

Re: They don't use proprietary chargers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44496415)

Apple use a proprietary connector for one reason. They can control its use.

long ago, I lived in the knockoff capital of the world Shenzhen. as I recall, If apple China busted you making a product that used the (at that time) 30 pin connector they would put their license compliance guys (well mostly girls) onto you.

Licensing the connectors use was big business to them in south China. But I will say from my experience they were pretty supportive in getting whatever product you were developing up and running - after you got your "made for iPod / iphone" license.

at the time every man and his dog was slapping together cheap ass speakers and chargers for export.

I think apple tightened this up now with the new connector, in that it needs a authentication chip to communicate with the device. After the gfc, south China government became much less willing to help out with enforcement of the previously popular "LC" business model, since it might result in unemployment. So a robust system would have been needed.

Re: They don't use proprietary chargers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44496987)

If apple China busted you making a product that used the (at that time) 30 pin connector they would put their license compliance guys (well mostly girls) onto you.

Dear Mr. Cook,

I have been a very naughty boy, and am making a product using your lightning connector without a license. I would greatly appreciate it if you could put your license compliance girls onto me at your earliest convenience. Especially if they're spinners, but any reasonably attractive Asian girl will do.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

An IP-stealing License Violating crook who digs Asian chicks.

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44492463)

what is so proprietary about Apple's chargers? Its a USB female connector coming out of the charger. The issue is UL vs non-UL certified knock-offs. You dont need to use an Apple charger, just buy any UL certified charge. No one is forcing you to buy an Apple charger.

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (1)

tk77 (1774336) | about a year ago | (#44493277)

what is so proprietary about Apple's chargers? Its a USB female connector coming out of the charger. The issue is UL vs non-UL certified knock-offs. You dont need to use an Apple charger, just buy any UL certified charge. No one is forcing you to buy an Apple charger.

Just because it has a UL logo on it, doesn't mean its real.

The following video was meant to be a teardown of a real vs fake charger and it turns out, they were both fake.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi-b9k-0KfE [youtube.com]

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (1)

the computer guy nex (916959) | about a year ago | (#44492507)

Perhaps this is a stupid question, but why does Apple like to use proprietary chargers/connectors so much in the first place? It may be that poor-quality third-party chargers could damage the device. But then I have to ask, why are iDevices so fragile in the first place? It seems most other smartphones have a standard USB port and can work with any old 5V power supply.

-Micro USB is terrible. Charges slow, isn't reversible, etc.

-The iDevices aren't 'fragile', the knockoff chargers are just poorly made. Nothing to do with the device.

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (5, Informative)

nbauman (624611) | about a year ago | (#44492639)

Ken Shirriff did teardowns of an Apple charger and a generic charger.

http://www.righto.com/2012/05/apple-iphone-charger-teardown-quality.html [righto.com]

http://www.righto.com/2012/10/a-dozen-usb-chargers-in-lab-apple-is.html [righto.com]

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (0)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44494423)

From my reading, it's not that generic chargers are bad or one brand was necessarily better than the others. The monoprice one did just fine in tests. What everyone should get out of the tests is that counterfeit chargers are bad.

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44497059)

I'm sorry, could you phrase your response in the form of Apple-bashing? When you link to a post that calls apple's charger circuitry "surprisingly complex and innovative," it sounds like you're saying Apple does things differently for a good reason.

And we don't like that sort of fairy talk around here.

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44492859)

My Nexus 10 does well with its 2.1 amps through a Micro USB connector.

Micro USB is the standard for everyone else in the industry. In fact, it is part of European law that all other phone makers but Apple obey. Apple skirts around it by providing an adapter.

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about a year ago | (#44493361)

Micro USB is terrible. Charges slow, isn't reversible, etc.

Really? I guess my Galaxy Note II doesn't charge at 2000 mA, and fully charge in under 2 hours with the micro USB connector...

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (4, Informative)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#44492525)

It may be that poor-quality third-party chargers could damage the device. But then I have to ask, why are iDevices so fragile in the first place? It seems most other smartphones have a standard USB port and can work with any old 5V power supply.

5 Volt chargers that deliver 5 Volt are not a problem. The charger that caused all this didn't deliver 5 Volt, it delivered 220 Volt straight to the user. The iPhone survived, the user didn't.

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#44494143)

Five volts RMS or DC? What's the allowed ripple? Current draw? Etc... etc...

It's a lot more complicated than "just providing 5 volts".

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44495451)

Volts don't kill people, idiot.

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44497245)

High voltage is more likely to kill you than low voltage, though. Higher electric potential = easier for a current to be established; once the current is established, it only takes a few milliamps reaching the heart to wreck your day.

Pretending that voltage is irrelevant in somebody being electrocuted is kinda fucking dumb, and is the sort of thing that only a fucking aspie retard would cunt on about here on Slashdot.

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (4, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#44494295)

Perhaps this is a stupid question, but why does Apple like to use proprietary chargers/connectors so much in the first place?

It may be that poor-quality third-party chargers could damage the device. But then I have to ask, why are iDevices so fragile in the first place? It seems most other smartphones have a standard USB port and can work with any old 5V power supply.

Because at the time, there was no standard for USB charging (this was way back in 2003). And since you wanted dumb chargers, you needed a way to signal how much current the charger was willing to give (USB devices are only allowed to draw 100mA prior to enumeration, and 500mA only if the host allows). Since that was relatively unacceptable, Apple came up with a way to do it.

First, the resistors pull D+ and D- to various states which signals 4 different charge currents - 100mA, 500mA, 1A, 2A. (the first and last were reserved until later on). This was because you didn't want to pull too much power out of an inadequate charger.

Second, the 30 pin connector was just standardized (back in 2003), because there were no standards for connecting up A/V equipment to a portable device, so Apple used the 30 pin to allow accessory makers to build accessories cheaply - a serial port for control, analog audio outputs so you didn't need a DAC, etc.

Sometime later, the USB guys made a USB charger spec which shorted D+ and D- together to signal a charger. Unfortunately, the USB charger spec is deficient in that it does not signal charge current - the official spec says youc an draw 800mA or so (and it relaxes the 100mA pre-enumeration requirements so you could boost charge your battery until you can boot far enough to detect chargers and such). Of course, without current signalling, things are confusing because your tablet might try to draw 2A out of a 500mA adapter (I've seen cheap adapters blow up because they overheat).

As for what happens here to cause Apple to do this - cheap adapters are cheap. There is often ZERO regard to safety, including things like basic creepage and clearance (how far must high voltage rails be separated), the use of substandard safety parts (snubber capacitors), etc. In some designs, the USB port is barely 1mm away from mains voltage - a particularly humid day can easily bridge the distance and put a rather significant amount of voltage on the USB port. Or a critical part can fail and due to bad isolation, you get line voltage on the USB port.

Here's what a real Apple adapter looks like inside [righto.com] . The green dot recall was because the pins could fall out, and you can see Apple molded them into the plastic so the only way to rip them out is to destroy the plastic cover.

A fake charger torn down [righto.com] . Note the general crappiness.

A dozen adapters tested [righto.com] . Apple is not the best - Samsung chargers are better! But the crappy chargers are clearly crap. In fact, you'll know them because your phone's touch screen stops working when you charge it. This happens on all phones - Apple, or Android. The noisiness of the power rails interferes with the analog touchscreen electronics.

Dave Jones (EEVBlog) tears down two fake chargers he got [eevblog.com] . He's not impressed and he's really shocked at the lousy nature of it. Taking them apart was the best thing you could do safety wise than using them.

There's nothing special to an Apple charger or any other charger. In fact, modern USB charger controller ICs now have autoswitch modes where they try all known charger methods to be the one universal charger. Youc an convert a standard USB charging charger to an Apple one with a few resistors, and an Apple one to a standard just as easily.

(There are 3 official charging specs - USB official USB Charger, Apple and generic - the generic being put +5V up and the device will draw 500mA. Against the specs and can blow up stuff not prepared to deliver 500mA).

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44494645)

Perhaps this is a stupid question, but why does Apple like to use proprietary chargers/connectors so much in the first place?

It may be that poor-quality third-party chargers could damage the device. But then I have to ask, why are iDevices so fragile in the first place? It seems most other smartphones have a standard USB port and can work with any old 5V power supply.

You realise that this is just a bog standard USB wall wart that supports 10W supply to the device, right? There's nothing proprietary about the charger at all.

The difference between it and a cheap knock off is that the cheap knock offs have no consideration for safety at all (I'm lead to believe that the common thing they ignore is rules about how far apart the input side voltage and output side voltage electronics should be spaced apart).

Re:Why proprietary chargers? (1)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#44497869)

There have been plenty of articles on charger performance - they're not just dumb devices these days. Most well designed modern chargers monitor the battery and charge it at a rate that minimizes wear on the battery.

Generosity (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44492465)

Apple, in its infinite generosity, will allow you to bring in a cheap third-party adapter and will sell you a genuine one at only a 200% markup, instead of the usual 2000% markup.

Re: Generosity (4, Insightful)

EGSonikku (519478) | about a year ago | (#44492881)

Really? Apple didn't have to do jack shit. We're talking about 3rd party chargers and knock-off's here.

But please, make Apple the bad guy here for essentially warranting 3rd party hardware.

Re: Generosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44493137)

Apple are taking advantage of a couple of incidents with a 3rd party charger to scare people into giving them more profit. If apple were not profiting off this behavior then you can defend them, as it is they are just using it as a money grubbing exercise for customers that they obviously were never going to get anything extra from previously.

Re: Generosity (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44494457)

Apple are taking advantage of a couple of incidents with a 3rd party charger to scare people into giving them more profit.

NOT 3rd party. Counterfeit. And as it turns out, unsafe. Please read [righto.com] .

If apple were not profiting off this behavior then you can defend them, as it is they are just using it as a money grubbing exercise for customers that they obviously were never going to get anything extra from previously.

Apple could do absolutely nothing as it wasn't their charger. But I'd suspect you'd complain about that too.

Re: Generosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44493153)

They aren't doing warranting anything. They are using a tragedy and trying to make money off of it. It's disgusting.

Re: Generosity (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44494443)

And if they did nothing, you'd accuse them of ignoring a dangerous situation and profiting off a tragedy. It's a no-win for Apple.

Re: Generosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44495475)

No I wouldn't because the death was caused by a third party charger.

People like you are the ones who make Apple look bad. You're so dead set on defending them from everything, even the smallest perceived slights, that you'll try to put words into people's mouths. Get out of here with your arrogance and baseless assumptions, douchebag.

Re: Generosity (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44496013)

Apple is offering to take any charger whether it works or not, whether it was counterfeit or not and replace with one that is genuine for $10. A charger they normally sell at $30 so they are taking a rather large cut of profits. You don't have to take them up on their offer.

You're so dead set on defending them from everything, even the smallest perceived slights, that you'll try to put words into people's mouths.

And you put ulterior motives behind Apple based on your bias. Maybe Apple's motives are to ensure that their customer live and not be killed by crappy chargers. Seriously if this was a story about Samsung or Nokia, would you react the same? You know Best Buy allows you to bring in old electronics to be recycled at their store. Do you accuse them of profiting off the environment to get you into their stores?

Re: Generosity (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#44493269)

Apple didn't have to do jack shit.

No kidding. The same people blaming Apple for third party chargers would certainly blame Google for bad Bing search results. Right?

Re: Generosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44494485)

The idea that it was a third party charger comes from Apples press release. AFAIK there has been no official report on if the charger used was an original or not.

The compact size of the Apple charger do cause some concerns. The distance between the USB connector and the transformer and buffer capacitor is very small. I wouldn't rule out that this wasn't caused by an original charger yet.

Re: Generosity (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44494509)

And where did you get that from this release [apple.com] ?

Recent reports have suggested that some counterfeit and third party adapters may not be designed properly and could result in safety issues. While not all third party adapters have an issue, we are announcing a USB Power Adapter Takeback Program to enable customers to acquire properly designed adapters.

Apple does not acknowledge whether the charger in the death was counterfeit or third party or original.

The compact size of the Apple charger do cause some concerns. The distance between the USB connector and the transformer and buffer capacitor is very small. I wouldn't rule out that this wasn't caused by an original charger yet.

Er? Electricity flows through metal wires. Since metal is contacted to metal on the connector, it doesn't really matter distance does it?

Re: Generosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44495273)

Would anyone buy 3rd party if Apple did not overcharge for their proprietary chargers? They take $10 off a friggin' charger and it is still more expensive than 3rd party!

Re: Generosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44495697)

They are not selling them at $10 off, they are selling them FOR $10.

Don't worry, I know, Apple could produce rainbows and candy from their devices for free, and all we'd hear from the majority of Slashdot is light pollution and tooth decay.

Re:Generosity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44493595)

Strange how it is Apple you are criticizing and not the companies that sell intentionally poorly designed chargers that kill.

Re:Generosity (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year ago | (#44494459)

Seriously? Do you also fault them for, without any cost to you at all, arranging to ship your old PC or phone directly from your front door to them so that they can recycle it for you and give you credit [apple.com] you can use towards future purchases? Because that is some seriously evil stuff they're doing, obviously. What greedy bastards they are!

*sigh*

Criticize them for the things that deserve criticism. Offering people a discount to possibly save lives while also currying good will when they're in a position where they don't have to do anything at all is not one of those times.

Re:Generosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44497113)

I'm sorry, where was the part of the deal where you were forced to give Apple $10 for a new charger, instead of buying your own cheap one and taking your chances?

I must have missed that.

Serial Number validation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44492477)

Crikey! All my iPhones and other iProducts are stolen. I guess I'll just have to steal the charger too.

It's getting so an honest criminal can't get by with life.

Smart move (1)

GPS Pilot (3683) | about a year ago | (#44492773)

Not only is Apple is making a statement -- "third-party hardware is real junk compared to ours" -- but they will probably still make a bit of profit selling these things for $10.

Re:Smart move (1)

martinX (672498) | about a year ago | (#44493745)

A couple of people have died as a result of cheap knock-off chargers so what you think Apple may be implying -- "third-party hardware is real junk compared to ours" -- is probably on the money.

As for me, I tried to save a few dollars on a mini display port to VGA cable. Result: the VGA plug's shield is just a little too big for the VGA port it's meant to go into. It fits into some others a little better, but there's no getting around the fact that it's not-quite-right. Yep, a VGA plug - the type that's been around for 30 years. Some company has managed to screw that up.

Live and learn.

Re:Smart move (1)

Macman408 (1308925) | about a year ago | (#44494047)

Now you know; next time, you should pay $80 for the Monster Cables version.

Re:Smart move (1)

martinX (672498) | about a year ago | (#44494229)

Or $30 from Apple. At least it'll fit the bloody socket. I could understand if the mini DP end was iffy, but the VGA..?

Re:Smart move (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44494465)

Or you could use a charger from a reputable company instead of a counterfeit one for $10 on monoprice. Also any decent USB charger works. Getting one that sells for $2 and says "Made by Aple in Califonia" might not be the best idea.

Re:Smart move (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#44496223)

Or you could use a charger from a reputable company instead of a counterfeit one for $10 on monoprice. Also any decent USB charger works. Getting one that sells for $2 and says "Made by Aple in Califonia" might not be the best idea.

There is always the problem that you may not know that your charger doesn't come from a reputable company. There have been reports of iPhone packages being opened and cables, chargers, headphones replaced with fakes, to sell the original ones at a profit.

YOU FAIL xIT... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44494343)

sa7es and so on?,

and yet.. (1)

SuperDre (982372) | about a year ago | (#44494837)

and even with this so called 'trade-in' Apple makes a profit on every swapped charger, so it's a win-win situation for Apple..
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