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Lightning: The pursuit of excellence


After two weeks’ acquaintance with the iPhone 5 and its controversial Lightning connector, I have a clear verdict in mind. The Lightning is a perfect product designed by someone who really understands what we need. It fits securely, never comes loose, is small. Above all, it can be inserted either way up, so no more fumbling in the dark or looking for the “top” marker.

Apple has been criticised simply for changing from the old, large 30-pin plug. But change has to come sometime, especially change for the better. It has also been condemnded for not choosing that ubiquitous USB micro connector favoured by the rest of the industry.

Change was necessary and it would certainly have been a mistake of adopt the USB micro. This is a sloppy, wobbly plug that can be inserted only one way. It falls out easily and has all the hallmarks of a connector designed by a committee. Worse, it is yesterday’s technology.

The Lightning, on the other hand is a thoroughbred: Designed by someone who cares and strives for the best.

Sure it is an inconvenience and a cost to have to change over all those cables and adapt your accessories, but it is a temporary hurdle. By next year, with Lightning on your phone and your iPad, you will be thanking Apple for its clarity of thought and its reluctance to follow the herd. That, after all, is why we love Apple. We, also, like to think different.

by Mike Evans, 9 October 2012