The change to a smaller connector on the iPhone 5 was heavily rumored, so the disappointment in Lightning isn’t due to shock. After all, Apple wasn’t going to use the 30-pin connector forever. The question was whether or not Apple would be able (or willing) to make the switch in a way that would be convenient for their customers, and the many accessories they have purchased (and often been encouraged to purchase by Apple itself).
The answer to that question is no. The 30-pin-to-Lightning adapter, pictured above, is very large. But, aesthetically and functionally, any sort of adapter would have been seen as a detriment. The fact that it is so big does make you wonder how much effort Apple actually put into its design, though.
The real reason why this adapter is almost contemptuous of Apple’s consumer base is its price. In order to use docks and accessories purchased with their new products, you’ll need to hand over $29, which is ridiculous for an adapter accessory, especially one so bulky.
The high price and the ugliness are probably by design, too. Apple, throughout the years, has always wanted to lead the charge in killing older technologies, and killing them off quickly – just look at the sudden yanking of the floppy drive in the 1990s or of DVD drives and ethernet ports in the MacBook Air and the most recent MacBook Pro. With the change to Lightning and the adapter, Apple might figure it wins both ways. One way, they sell a bunch of adapters, and the other way, Apple gets to kill off old technology in favor of new proprietary tech, so they can claim an extra revenue stream on all the new Lightning-friendly accessories that will be sold. Because Lightning, like the 30-pin, is proprietary, dock makers need to get approval from Apple for their products, which means Apple takes a cut on all units sold.
Oh, and just as a parting shot – the sales page for the adapter issues a warning that not all 30-pin accessories will work with the Lightning adapter. Which ones? Good luck!
The better solution, if you own an iPhone of any kind that still works, is probably just to keep using that iPhone for as long as you can.
The other big change was the introduction of EarPods, but the jury is still out on those. The new earphones are very different from any other earphone we’ve seen – Apple was on point with that promise. Still, it looks as if there is no padding on these, though they are supposed to remain comfortable by fitting the shape of the ear well. Despite that, it’s a hard piece of plastic stuck in your ear – it’s probably going to get uncomfortable at some point. Apple also claims these offer greater protection from sweat and water, but without more details, I’m having a hard time seeing how that is the case. These could very well be great, but we’re lacking a lot of details. We’ll have to wait until we can try them out to say for sure whether or not they are all Apple is making them out to be.