In 2009, the UN telecommunications agency called for a consistent mobile phone charging for may by January 2012. The plan was aimed at reducing the waste and clutter associated with such a massive range of products all with different ports
and connectors going to waste.
All the major mobile phone manufacturers signed up for the initiative with one notable exception, our dear friends from 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino ; Apple. This year saw the iPhone 5 released with the new Lightning connector, a 8 pin connector based on their patent Thunderbolt technology.
The pin replaced the well known 30 pin connector that was introduced way back with the third generation iPods. The new connector is smaller and also reversible, which means there is no right or wrong way to insert it into the dock.
One major problem created by the change for iPhone 5 owners is that their existing iPhone chargers and cables are now useless, unless they buy the charger adapter. The new connector also carries an advanced protocol (just a way for two devices to communicate and exchange information) carries authentication hardware, that makes it much more difficult for other manufacturers to design and build products for the iPhone 5 without paying massive royalties to Apple on their patents.
This, in my opinion, is anti-competitive behaviour from Apple, because it reduces the consumers’ options.
The adapter for a 30-pin adapter also costs around $35 AUD and with a 20cm cable in between costing an extra $10 AUD. A $10 price difference for 20cm of cabling? Sounds way too steep in my books.
Given this, want usually outstrips need, so it doesn’t surprise me that with this knowledge, Apple have such a massive price difference in their adaptors. If you’re thinking about changing over to an iPhone 5, make sure you can neither sell up your docks, cables and connectors. At least, give them away as hand down to colleagues or family members.