Opinion: It’s time for Apple to deliver on its Lightning cable’s ‘improved durability’

Phil Schiller iPhone 5 event Lightning cable Improved durability

When you think about easily damaged Apple products, a smashed iPhone display with a screen like a spider web probably first comes to mind. While I’ve never cracked my own iPhone screen in my four years of carrying one virtually everywhere and mostly without a case, I have had to replace the charging cable required to keep the iPhone juiced up more than enough times.

The classic 30-pin cable used on the iPhone 4s and prior certainly wasn’t the most durable cable I’ve ever owned, but the Lightning cable introduced alongside the iPhone 5 in 2012 has proved one of the least forgiving accessories I’ve ever needed to use, and that’s despite Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller touting Lightning’s “improved durability” when he introduced it.

You may not have the same experience, but there’s even a Tumblr dedicated to venting over broken Lightning cables, and that just shouldn’t be the case.

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New videos and photo of purported reversible Apple USB to Lightning iPhone 6 cable

We raised the possibility yesterday of the iPhone 6 including a redesigned USB to Lightning cable that allows the USB end of the cord to be inserted into a USB port in either direction. In other words, like the Lightning connector, the next Apple USB cable could be reversible. Leaks of the purported cables have been flowing quickly out of Asia-based areas surrounding the Apple supply chain, and now Sonny Dickson has shared a video of the cable in action. While the video does not show the iPhone actually syncing with the new USB cord, the video does show the cable being inserted in both directions into a standard USB port. This lines up with a recent Apple patent, which is for a USB connector that can be inserted in either direction into currently existing USB hubs.

You can watch the videos and see the new photo below:

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Will the iPhone 6 include a reversible USB cable? Recent Apple patent makes it possible.

Reversible USB

The iPhone 6’s packaging might not only include a redesigned smartphone, but a redesigned USB to Lightning cable. While it’s unlikely that Apple will yet-again change the Lightning port introduced with the 2012 iPhone 5 anytime in the near future, a redesigned version of the USB plug could be ready for this fall. Sketchy photos of a reversible USB cable first surfaced on the web last week, and Sonny Dickson yesterday shared another shot of the cables via Twitter.

Like the Lightning connector, the benefit of a reversible USB connector is that it can be inserted into a USB port in either direction. This makes it easier to insert the connector in darkly lit or hard to reach places (like behind a desk). Due to uncertain sourcing, the first batch of photos did not seem completely believable, but digging a little deeper into the situation reveals that Apple readying a reversible USB iPhone cable is a real possibility…

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Review: Blue’s Mikey Digital now has Lightning support, but is it worth the money? (Video)

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Blue Microphones is known for its high-end studio mics and, in recent years, iOS recording accessories. Not too long ago, I had a chance to check out Blue’s Spark Digital which is a USB/Lightning/30-pin microphone compatible with a wide range of devices. Today we’re looking at something a bit more portable.

Blue’s Mikey Digital is a stereo condenser microphone. It’s now available with a Lightning connection and will provide on-the-go high quality audio for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. So what makes Mikey Digital so special? Well, let’s find out…

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Review: uNu’s UltraPak portable batteries can be recharged up to 8X faster than the competition (Video)

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 4.27.29 AM

In my opinion, the worst part about having a portable battery pack to charge up your devices is making sure it actually has juice. I have a few battery packs around the house, but whenever I go to use them, they’re always dead. Sure, that’s my fault, but most of them take quite a while to charge. Thankfully, uNu has come up with a better solution…

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iOS 7 now blocking some third-party Lightning cables after earlier warning shot

warning

As we suspected when Apple added a warning to a pre-release version of iOS 7 that non-certified cables may not work reliably with iPhones, the launch version is actually blocking some of them from charging the phone. Certified cables contain a chip that allows them to authenticate.

We first spotted this in a Reddit post, and have since confirmed. The warning message itself is unchanged, but it’s no longer an empty threat – though as seen in comments, some non-certified cables are still working. Possibly ones that use cracked chips. The good news is that there is a workaround for others, but it’s not pretty …  Read more

Review: Twelve South HiRise stand for iPhone 5, iPad mini

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Product:

The Twelve South HiRise, which was announced last week, is an aluminum stand and docking/charging station for Apple devices that include a Lightning dock connector. The HiRise supports the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, seventh-generation iPod nano, and the iPad mini (the 4th-generation iPad is too large). Unlike the typical iOS Device dock, the HiRise, as the product name implies, raises your device a few inches high in the air. Twelve South also ships versions of the HiRise for the MacBook (review) and iMac (review)…

Features/Performance: 

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3rd-party Lightning cable providers bypass iOS 7 check in new MFI Cat and Mouse game

We were the first to report that iOS7 notifies users that they were using non-certified 3rd party Lightning cables in iPhones and likely iPads and iPods as well. Apple currently still allows these cables to charge and sync data with iOS devices but if Apple can detect these cables, that means they could also disable iOS 7 from using these cables in a future version of iOS.

One third party company called iPhone5mod (coincidentally, the company that made the cable used to demonstrate iOS7 warnings in the images here) says it has a way around Apple’s warnings and theoretically around detection at all… Read more

iLoveHandles launches ‘Trunk’, a flexible Lightning cable that holds your iPhone vertically

iLoveHandles, a company that makes unique iOS device accessories (Facet and Pinhead come to mind), today announced availability of its latest one of a kind offering for iPhone.

TRUNK-coffeeDubbed the “Trunk,” the company has created a short, flexible Lightning cable that is strong enough to hold up an iPhone vertically when charging in the wall or elsewhere. We’ve seen similar dock solutions before that are married with wall adapters, but Trunk makes it easy to prop up your iPhone no matter where you are.

iLoveHandles, which is currently selling the cable for $19.95 through its website, shows in the images above a couple of the situations Trunk might come in handy. This is definitely a product we can see using in the car while using a maps app to navigate, and we hope to bring a full hands-on review of Trunk soon. Read more

Logitech announces wired iPad keyboard for the classroom in Lightning and 30-pin variants

Logitech-Wired-Keyboard-for-iPad

We know that Bluetooth keyboards are usually the go to solution for a bringing a traditional typing experience on the iPad. We’ve reviewed plenty from Logitech in the past that we highly recommend, but today the company launched what it says is a better solution for iPad keyboards in the classroom. Logitech says having to connect multiple iPads to Bluetooth keyboards in classrooms is a big hassle for teachers, and to combat that it is introducing a plug-and-play, wired keyboard in both Lightning and 30-pin variants:

“Schools are increasingly purchasing iPads for use in the classroom,” said Mike Culver, vice president and general manager of mobility at Logitech. “While tablets are enabling new ways of teaching and testing, there’s a challenge when a teacher needs to simultaneously pair multiple iPads with multiple wireless Bluetooth keyboards. We developed the Logitech Wired Keyboard for iPad to specifically solve this problem, so students can now simply plug it in and start typing.”

The full-sized keyboard has the usual iOS hotkeys, a durable, spill resistant exterior, and the low profile keys you might be used to from other Logitech keyboards.  Read more