Apple's hardware ecosystem has grown messy and frustratingly inconsistent

Apple owns its ecosystem like no other company, from the silicon inside devices to the software that they run. And yet the ecosystem is riddled with weird, frustrating inconsistencies.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

I own a MacBook Pro, an iPad Pro, Apple Watch, and an iPhone. You'd think that these devices would interact and play nicely with each other. But they don't.

The first frustrating annoyance is the lack of USB-C on the iPhone. I really didn't notice this until I started using an iPad Pro running iOS 13 and started to make increasing use of external storage devices.

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It feels strange that I can connect the same device to the iPad Pro and my MacBook Pro, but my iPhone has to use weird storage dongles that have Lightning connectors built into them.

The Lightning cable also means having to carry around at least two charging cables (USB-C and Lightning), which isn't the end of the world but is an added annoyance when traveling or trying to keep my desk tidy.

This feels off and annoying, and makes the Lightning connector feel more like an affectation now that Apple is using to scoop up licensing revenues.

Another weirdness is the Apple Pencil. I love using it on my iPad Pro, and find myself regularly jabbing at the display on my iPhone.

And then there's the Apple Watch which needs its own wireless charger. Another small annoyance, but again something that contributes to desk clutter and having to carry more stuff around with me when I travel.

Apple's ecosystem now reminds me of tech in the 90s and early 00s, when everything had its own proprietary charger and cable, and things were messy and clouded in a low-level haze of frustration. I didn't expect Apple, a company that touts simplicity and efficiency, to take such a huge step back.

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