Since the iPhone 5 was announced on Wednesday I have been asked by friends and strangers what I think. Without exception, everyone has highlighted the new dock connector as a negative aspect. What will I do with all my old cables? Why didn’t Apple simply go with the ubiquitous USB Micro connector like everyone else (and the diktat of the European Union)?
This article in The Verge delves into the whys and wherefores and makes interesting reading.
Some the perceived problems are transitional ones. The incompatibility with 30-pin accessories will be a non-issue within months. There will be some initial additional costs, but in the end we will have a neater, easier-to-use socket and plug that should see Apple through the next ten years.
Simply put, the old 30-pin connector had to go. It was just too big. I look forward to the new connector, particular to its ambidextrous ways. No longer will I have to switch on the bedside light to determine which way to insert the plug.
Which brings us to the EU and the universal USB Micro connector. I can understand Apple’s reluctance to lose control of the aftermarket (and lose its licensing revenue) but it goes much deeper than that. The USB Micro may be universal, but it is far from ideal. It fits where it touches, wobbles and can fall out quite easily if the cable is pulled. After the stability of the 30-pin connector, I am sure most Apple fans would have been hugely disappointed with the USB Micro.
I happen to own one of those 30-pin-to-USB adaptors that Apple made to comply with EU legislation. I couldn’t find one in any European Apple store but managed to pick up mine in Beijing of all places. I’ve used it on several occasions when I found myself with, say, a Kindle charger and no iPhone sync cable. It works, kind of, but the USB Micro plug wobbles alarmingly. I could not imagine living with it for the next ten years.
Apple did well to do what Apple usually does: Think out of the box and decide on something that is right rather than a device that will make people feel initially warm but subsequently disappointed.
by Mike Evans, 18 September 2012