A paean to the Lightning connector

Jason Perlow for ZDNet:

Ever since I got my iPhone 5, and after receiving my new iPad 4th-generation this weekend, I’ve learned to love Apple’s new Lightning connector. At first, I was annoyed. I had already purchased a whole bunch of 30-pin charging cables for my iPad 3, along with matching square white Apple 10W to USB charging adapters. So now I had two types of connectors and two types of USB adapter cables to charge Apple products with.

Perlow goes on to explain why the Lightning connector found on Apple’s newer iOS devices impresses him so much – from the reversible design (unlike Micro USB, which is unidirectional) to the wattage specification (allowing more battery-hungry devices like the new iPad to charge).

He also talks about what a quagmire the Android market has become, thanks to a lack of standardization. Micro USB is popular but it’s hardly universal, and it’s unsuitable for many devices that are too power-hungry.

Admittedly, it’s a hard sell for some of us who have invested a lot of money in devices that work with Apple’s 30-pin dock connector, but as Perlow puts it, “I have to give the company credit for designing a better charging and syncing connector standard when I see it.”



  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-Carver/564081873 Sue Carver

    You had me at “paean.”

    • Mother Hydra

      Vocabularizin’ in da hizzie for Suzie. or something. sorry, I’ll let myself out now

  • http://twitter.com/Davidmuful David Bailey

    “Micro USB is popular but it’s hardly universal”

    It pretty much is in Europe. That said, I don’t really think it is that big a deal for the user. You just remember your cable and you’re good.

    Micro USB is good though, I don’t think anyone on Android or Windows Phones are bemoaning the lack of a custom connector.

  • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

    All of my Android tablets use MicroUSB with no problem, sans Galaxy Tab 10.1 (30 pin).

    • jwoodgett

      How many do you have??? I’m an iPad fan but I only have one.

      • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

        2 Nexus 7′s, Galaxy Tab 10.1 (v1), and a Motorola XOOM. We have 2 iPads too.

        I’m a dev and gadget geek so I buy a lot of tech. :)

  • Dennis Madrid

    The article is a refreshing change of pace compared to most of the commentary surrounding the Lightning connector. I was happy to see the article point out one of the biggest reasons for a proprietary connector: “The new connector… …also needed to be able to talk to accessories in a device host mode for compatible Apple peripherals.” That fact is something so many people (including the majority of comments on the article page) miss. The Lightning (and 30-pin) connector is what allows third-party manufacturers to extend the capabilities of the device with hardware accessories. USB requires hardware accessories to do a lot more to interface with the device than Apple’s connectors do (a gross, but accurate, oversimplification). The result is companies are much more willing to create hardware for one than the other. It’s why despite the large number of Android devices in existance almost all hardware accessories are only made for Apple devices. If using a proprietary connector was such a big issue, why aren’t any of the hardware accessory companies complaining? The truth is, Apple’s choice in creating the Lightning connector is in the best interests of its customers. No solution is perfect, but the slight inconvienence of carrying another cable or adapter is small in comparison to the benefits (huge 3rd-party accessory market, easier for hardware companies to make products for, no “wrong way” to insert, durability, etc.)