I'm starting to feel just a little bit like Andy Rooney, asking, "Why?" all the time. Today, I need to ask, "Why can't we just use removable batteries?"
These days, it seems like everything comes with a charging adapter -- a USB charging adapter. It's weird. We're all supposed to be using mobile devices that no longer have full-sized USB jacks, but every mobile device has a USB connector for charging.
Take the iPad keyboard I'm typing on right now. I had my iPad with me, an article deadline, a Target gift card, and a hankering for coffee. Fortunately, I was near a local Target, so I stopped in. I bought the keyboard (one of the ZAGG ones James Kendrick has recommended), used up my gift card credit, got myself a cup 'o Joe at the in-store Starbucks, and set out to write this article.
Fine, I also got a cheese danish. Satisfied? Truth in journalism, I guess.
Anyway, the keyboard doesn't take batteries. Fortunately, there's a small charge on it, so I'm hoping I'll finish this before the batteries run out, but with a bajillion square foot Target just inches away, I can't go buy batteries and make sure I have power.
The cheese danish isn't half bad, actually.
Anyway, so many other accessories now require USB charging. My media center Bluetooth keyboard doesn't take batteries. My Windows 8 touchpad (no, I don't really use it, but I write about Windows 8, so...) doesn't take batteries. Even my crappy little bedroom pico-projector doesn't take batteries.
Everything needs to be plugged into a USB port and charged. I know this may seem like a convenience to users (except when the power dies and you can't open the thing up), but it's also a gimmee to the manufacturers. They no longer have to include thick power dongles and they're even (generally) too cheap to include a USB to wall-socket plug.
This ZAGG keyboard is a perfect example. It's an iPad keyboard. Yet the only thing in the box besides the keyboard is a mini-USB to full-size USB cable.
So, even though the intended user is expected to have an iPad -- a mobile, full-day-of-charge-not-plugged-into-the-wall-or-why-would-you-need-a-mobile-keyboard iPad -- the way Zagg expects you to charge their mobile keyboard is to somehow find a USB dongle and plug it into the wall or into a laptop or desktop USB port.
Oh, the irony.
No one is expected to use PCs anymore in this supposed post-PC world, but everyone is supposed to plug in all their post-PC devices into the USB ports of their no-longer-used PCs to charge.
It's just not right. Not right at all.
Yes, we bought a bunch of $3 USB wall-socket adapters from Amazon, but that's not the point. I want to be able to change batteries when something dies, not have to wait for something to take a charge. I blame Apple for this. Before the iPhone, mobile devices had removable batteries.
Darn you, Apple!