Hey, didja hear there's a new iPhone coming out soon? Yeah, I heard it, too. But the news was so anticlimactic that a lot of news stories are about how "we already knew everything that Apple was going to announce." The iPhone 5 surprised no one, and it is set to underwhelm consumers in stores soon.
New iPhone dumps the Apple connector
Great, one more cable to add to your collection.
But in addition to some nice features (like the taller screen, and the metal body), the new iPhone has one incredible inconvenience: it dumps the standard Apple connector in favor of a newer one.
That's right, folks: one more cable for your collection! One more thing to add to the snarl of cables at your desk. One more cable to jockey for position in your power outlets. One more cable to buy multiples of, so that you always have one handy whether you're at home or at work. One more cable to forget to pack the next time you go on vacation.
One of the really wonderful things about Apple products for the last decade or so has been the Apple connector. This friendly white cable, with its Apple logo making clear which way is up, is compatible with all smaller Apple products. Until now, whether you had an iPad, an iPod, or an iPhone, you could plug them all into your computer with the same cable. And the same goes for the wall charger: it just attaches to that same standard plug.
Proprietary cables are insanely annoying. Apple's proprietary cable was only saved from being annoying by being so universal. And now that it's not universal? It's SUPER ANNOYING.
USB is a great protocol. USB ports are (as the name suggests) universal. These days you usually find yourself faced with one of two connectors: USB or mini-USB. Thus, you can get by with two cables for a variety of gadgets. Just looking around at my desk I can see a hand-held GPS unit, an external backup drive, and a digital camera: all of them use USB cables. They happily swap, like best friends. It's great!
Why does Apple insist on introducing a new cable? They claim the old Apple connector is too big to fit the new iPhone. Why won't they just switch to USB? Because it's an open standard, which would mean that Apple would lose control of the accessories market.
Make no mistake: Apple isn't making this change for your sake. Oh Steve, is this really what you would have wanted?