Sunday, September 1, 2013

Apple "cable" adventures

Several weeks ago I found out I need a long lightning cable. Since Apple provides only 1 meter cables for $19 I decided to buy a 2 meters cable from eBay for $3 (delivery included) instead. Today it arrived from China and this is the welcoming message to see when I plugged it in. (<= look at the picture now!) ... 

"It's a bloody cable" I yelled at the screen, but Siri remained silent.

Of course I know this is not a cable. Cables are used to transfer electricity only. Apple call it a cable, it looks like cable to the users, but it a contains electronics, which makes it a convertor. Convertors are more complex and tend to break more often. In general using convertors for cables is bad for users. Here are several examples when those convertors got me in trouble:

The last two devices we bough for development used a lightning cable. We used cables that came with them for development and one of those cables just stopped working about 1 week later. Looking from outside it was a perfectly new cable. Just electronics inside were broken. We put it in the trash and bought two new cables from Apple. You know ... just in case ...

The second story is older and is about the older 30 pin Apple "cables". Since the principle is the same I guess same things can happen with the new cables.

I bought my iPad 3 and found out that not only the cables are the same, but chargers also look exactly the same as those of my old iPhone 3GS. I got worried because the new charger had 2.1A output, while iPhone's charger was 1A output. If I put 2.1A into iPhone it could fry it. If I put 1.0A into iPad it will charge it more than twice slower! It turned out the "cables" take care of this. They know they are connected to iPhone and they make it charge with the proper power. However my original iPhone 3GS cable knew nothing about iPad 3 and even with iPad's charger it charged it at iPhone's rate! Now I have two "cables" which look exactly the same and both work on iPhone, but only one of them charges properly my iPad. It SHOULD be a bloody cable, NOT a converter! Electronics should be inside the devices not inside the cables!

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