A billionaire rages at Apple and its cables

Anand Mahindra, an Indian billionaire, gets a surprise with his new iPad. And he just can't take it anymore.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer
Lightning is a good, solid connector

Now you see it, now you don't.


Billionaires are people, too. Yes, just like corporations.

And, just like corporations, they have strong feelings about some of the tiniest things.

Why, they don't really want to pay any more in taxes. And, as for Apple's cable policy, well, this can drive them into apoplexy.

Take Anand Mahindra. Described by the Economist as "the pin-up of Indian capitalism," Mahindra, who made his billions thanks to everything from aerospace to SUV's, understands how companies make money.

That doesn't mean he always likes it.

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Why, Apple has driven him to such frustration that he was forced to tweet about it: "Got a new iPad & found that the lightning connector's been replaced. So need a new charger which doesn't work with my iPhone and new earphones too. More junk when I travel. Great strategy to boost accessory sales, but not surprised more folks are sticking to existing models."

Mere mortals surely feel his pain. Apple's excuses -- I'm sorry, I mean elegant reasoning -- for lightning cables in the first place felt a touch hollow. To many at the time, it seemed like a simple money-making wheeze.

When the lightning connector first came into being in 2012, Apple's EVP of worldwide marketing insisted that one of the reasons for it was improved durability. Which some likely found quite entertaining.

Now, though, Apple seems to believe that USB-C is necessary in order to achieve greater speed and some more irritation on the part of customers.

I may have invented that second part.

Still, I'm not sure that the removal of lightning connectors is the main thing that's keeping Apple customers with existing models. It's more likely, I fear, that those models work perfectly well and Cupertino hasn't released anything that's utterly compelling.

I confess I feel some of Mahindra's pain.

It's hard to get used to USB-C on my new MacBook Air, when I was so grateful in the past for the MagSafe connector that drifted away just before as I was about to accidentally snap it. 

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And the billionaire is surely right that Apple has made vast ladles of lucre from its constant cable tweaking. It really did reach a point of elevated absurdity with the number of magical, revolutionary dongles customers required in order to have a happy life.

Rumors have it, though, that the next iPhone will sync to USB-C too.

Perhaps then the world's billionaires will have their spirits lifted and their loads lightened.

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