The high price of connecting with an Apple iPhone 5

Summary:Even some of Apple's biggest fans think that the iPhone 5's new Lightning connection comes at too high a price.

iPhone5
The iPhone 5 is pretty, but the price of its Lighting adapter is ugly as sin.

While I prefer Android smartphones and tablets, I also like my iPod Touch and iPads. Like many iFans, I also own a variety of devices that work with them: a car FM radio adapter, a clock radio, and an attachment for my stereo system. I'd think about buying an Apple iPhone 5 except not a single one of those devices can work with the iPhone's new Lightning interface.

Don't take my word for it. David Pogue of the New York Times, the biggest Apple fan this side of Daring Fireball's John Gruber, wrote: the “decade-old iPhone/iPad/iPod charging connector is everywhere: cars, clocks, speakers, docks, even medical devices. But the new iPhone won’t fit any of them.”

Still, that's not too bad, right? All you need to do is buy a 30-pin-to-Lighting adapter... for $29. Hmmm... I don't know about you, but I'm not happy with the idea of spending $87 just so I can use the iPhone 5 with my three old devices.

Don't think, by the way, that you'll see cheap 30-pin-to-Lightning adapters any time soon. Apple, of course, has a patent on the Lightning interface. So sure, there will be third-party adapters, but you can expect them to be in the same $29 price range. Apple could have adopted the cheap-as-dirt micro-USB interface instead, but then it couldn't have charged a fraction of the cost of a Lightning adapter. 

Even if you are willing to pay for these new adapters, as Pogue remarks, “not all accessories work with the Lightning, and not all the features of the old connector are available; for example, you can’t send the iPhone’s video out to a TV cable.” Great. Just great.

So what's the best answer if you want to get the most from your iPhone 5? Why, it's to buy new Lighting-compatible accessories, of course! You may think you're getting an iPhone 5 for $199-$399, but if you want to use it with other accessories your final tally may end up closing in on a grand.

I like the look of the new iPhone, but I don't like it that much.

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Topics: iPhone, Apple, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones

About

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, aka sjvn, has been writing about technology and the business of technology since CP/M-80 was the cutting edge, PC operating system; 300bps was a fast Internet connection; WordStar was the state of the art word processor; and we liked it.His work has been published in everything from highly technical publications... Full Bio

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