Why Apple Couldn’t Go to Micro USB Charging

by Steve Wildstrom   |   September 16th, 2012

No feature of the new iPhone 5 has come in for as much criticism as Apple’s decision to drop the venerable 30-pin iPod connector in favor of a new, reversible 8-pin plug called Lightning.

Some people, especially those with a lot of iPod/iPhone/iPad accessories were understandably upset that they have suddenly been rendered obsolete. Photo of Lightning connectorThe $29 price for a Lightning-to-30-pin adapter doesn’t help, although that cost will undoubtedly come down as soon as third-party accessory makers bring theirs to market. The problem is that the nearly decade-0ld 30-pin was obsolete and too big, and was becoming a real design issue for Apple.

A more serious question is why Apple did not go to the micro USB connector that is supposed to be a standard in the phone industry. While the decision is surely due in part to Apple’s sense of esthetics and in part to Apple’s desire to control the accessory market through licensing of the proprietary Lightning connector, there was a truly compelling reason: The iPad.

Here’s the problem: The micro USB pins are very small, and the power-carrying connectors, pins 1 and 5, are rated to carry 1.8 amps at 5 volts DC. That means that the maximum charging power that can safely flow across the connector is 9 watts. But the iPad wants 10 watts to charge. It will charge on as little as 5 watts, the output of most USB 3 ports and the specially modified USB 2 ports on newer Apple products, but needs 10 watts for fastest charging.

Depending on the circuitry involved, there’s some danger that attempting to charge a USB iPad, if such a thing existed, would cause the connector to overheat. But the more likely result would be a 10% slowdown in the iPad’s charging rate, an especially unfortunate outcome on the already slow-charging third-generation device.

Apple has promised a micro USB-to-Lightning connector to comply with European Commission regulatory requirements. But I bet it will generate a warning regarding iPad use when the next generation of Lightning-equipped iPads appears.

Steve Wildstrom

Steve Wildstrom is veteran technology reporter, writer, and analyst based in the Washington, D.C. area. He created and wrote BusinessWeek’s Technology & You column for 15 years. Since leaving BusinessWeek in the fall of 2009, he has written his own blog, Wildstrom on Tech and has contributed to corporate blogs, including those of Cisco and AMD and also consults for major technology companies.
  • Anony Mous

    It’s still old tech. To catch up, Apple needs to go to inductive charging; pluggable memory cards for video and other large data transfer; IR emitter for use with home theater gear; true USB for peripherals; etc. The app store will only carry their minimal I/O hardware just so far. I’ve had an iPad for quite a while, but so far, the case for me to move to a newer model just hasn’t been made by Apple. In the meantime, Android tablets are experimenting with interesting connectivity and other compelling features. If just a few more apps show up under Android, and Apple remains recalcitrant about connectivity, the obvious will occur. I’m sure I’m not representative of all Apple customers; but I’m also sure I”m representative of some of them. :)

    • steve_wildstrom

      Phil Schiller dismissed inductive charging on the grounds that you don;t really save a cable. I tried it on the Palm Pre and I’m inclined to agree with him–it’s mostly a gimmick. And for the moment at least, the Wireless Power Consortium’s Qi standard is limited to 5 watts, though a higher power standard is in progress. (http://www.wirelesspowerconsortium.com/news/announcements/medium-power.html)

      Apple has rejected the idea of removable memory cards for the iPhone from the beginning. With content increasingly downloaded over networks, there’s less of a case for it now than there was five years ago.

      USB for peripherals raises a different problem. You can;t just plug in a peripheral; you need drivers. And user-installable drivers are, if not the source of all operating system problems, responsible for a huge percentage of them. Never is a long time, but I feel confident in predicting that Apple will never allow user-installed drivers in iOS. Even Android devices that allow USB restrict it to mass storage devices.

      An IR emitter is another feature you will never see on an iOS device. It would, in fact, be an enormous leap backward. What is happening instead is that home entertainment devices are moving to network control,which allows a smartphone to serve as a remote over a Wi-Fi connection.

      • jbyrne

        Are you positive that Android limits USB peripherals to mass storage? I’ve used HID devices on Android tablets and there is growing interest in IOIO (pronounced YoYo) development board for android, it’s central aim is to allow hobbyists to develop peripherals for Android. If your statement about Androids limitations are correct, a lot of people are wasting their time…

        • steve_wildstrom

          There is an Android HID spec under Android Open Source, but there are lots of things in Android Open Source not necessarily supported in “official” Android. (See this piece http://marketingland.com/what-is-the-one-true-android-and-how-open-is-it-21664 by Marketing Land’s Danny Sullivan for a nice discussion of the two flavors of Android.)

          What I hope you never see is user installable drivers in “official” Android; if you do, you can kiss both stability and security goodbye.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

            Steve : do you really prefer void over “potentially” unstable matter ? Is the “no risk” philosophy worth the risk ? Do you only rely on apple for your technology related needs ? Don’t you need a bit to feel more free ?

          • steve_wildstrom

            I really do prefer stability, reliability, and security on the devices I depend on every day. I love experimentation and I have devices I used for that. But when work needs to be done, I don’t want to mess around. I just want things to work, and Apple delivers.

      • JonL

        Steve, your response to Anony Mous’s comment makes sense to me. The last piece, regarding IR emitters highlighted nicely that some people feel that current technology must be backward compatible with antiquated technology to really be useful rather than accept that new, better technology is available to replace that antiquated stuff.

        Anony Mous — there are actually 3rd party accessories that meet your need for getting your iDevice to transmit IR signals. And I’m glad that there are. I know there are accessories for some of the things I need my iDevices to do that they can’t do with the built-in hardware. I’m glad, though, that all these disparate bits of hardware functionality aren’t built-in, because then instead of the iPhone 5 being 20% lighter and 18% thinner than the iPhone 4S, it would have gained weight and added on a few millimeters just like the Lumia 920 did compared to its predecessor, the Lumia 900.

        • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

          you try to compare freedom with millimeters…

      • JonaDave

        Wireless charging makes more sense on a tablet in my opinion. Just plonk it down on a dock when not in use and have it act as a clock, photo viewer, stock ticker or whatever. It was how I used my Touchpad and I found it perfect.

        A removable battery on a phone is likewise very useful. I never charge my phone now – I just swap batteries every other day. Either of these things would make the transition to the then new connector a bit less painful.

        • steve_wildstrom

          Except, as I noted in another comment, the current wireless charging standard does not provide enough power to charge a tablet.

          • JonaDave

            The old HP touchpad tablet used a 10 watt inductive charging dock with twin coils for vertical and horizontal placement. I have it on my bookcase charging nicely.

          • steve_wildstrom

            And it was non-standard, which gets us to the dilemma. The starting point for this discussion was the complaint that Apple did not go to a standard charging connector. The choice designers nearly always face is that given the slow pace of standards setting, standards usually lag well behind the state of the art. Designers have to choose which is more important, performance or the standard.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

            You can have both with regular USB…

      • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

        USB devices can use standard class compliant formats, so drivers are not such an issue that everything could be impossible. Many USB devices are even already created specifically for the ipad, while they still have to work through the camera connection kit…
        I experiment the impossibility to use an external usb soundcard while charging my ipad, which is a real issue for ios musicians, but something usual on every other system.
        The consumer oriented experience that makes the ground of the “i design” is a real limitation as you get creation oriented, this is an issue for both artists and apps engineers. Even if you’re not an artist, the camera connection kit is now an obligatory accessory you have to get for many purposes, making the original design unefficient.
        I really think the limitation is on apple’s proprietary market thinking, not anywhere else. Adding a second port with USB standards would not change much to the design, but would add a real opening to the philosophy, and a real comfort for the users.

  • Vincent bowry

    You know your stuff, Steve! There’s a lot of people saying Android is ‘better’ than iPhone because you can use USB or SD flash storage. (Truly!)

    The last place I worked every single USB drive that got inserted into my work Mac (I lecture science) contained a PC trojan (that you can see on the Mac as an .exe file). Even the lecture-theatre media PC computers were infected (and often stalled in the middle of presentations). I believe Apple know what they’re doing.

    • steve_wildstrom

      And no 10″ Android tablet that I have seen uses micro USB charging. They either use a separate charging cable and connector (e.g., Acer) or a proprietary connector (e.g., Samsung,)

      (Before y’all write: Yes, I know the Samsung connector is technically a standard. But I don’t know of anyone else using it.)

      • daggar

        The Nexus 7 uses the same Micro USB charger.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-Hsiung/526240554 Jack Hsiung

        my hp pad (running android) uses microusb, its 10″

      • latetotheparty

        lenovo thinkpad tablet. micro USB @ 2.1A. Its slow charging from a computer usb2 port, but I have plenty of cheapo chargers for plug and car from amazon that will source that kind of power.

      • Anon

        Just got a 10″ Android tablet for Christmas. Yup, it uses micro-USB. Guess that theory went out the window.

    • http://twitter.com/DJIboga DJ Iboga

      Apparently not Computer Science, Android runs a Linux Kernal, which is just as virus resistant, but the only reason for Macs resistance is because no body WRITES malware for mac,

      • steve_wildstrom

        Do your homework, DJ. If you want to talk about kernels, both Mac OS and iOS run BSD UNIX kernels, which, from a security standpoint, are every bit a match for Linux. There’s plenty of Mac malware in the wild these days. iOS is a different story. Because of a combination of App Store control and, probably more important, a software architecture that severely restricts app access to the kernel, we have yet to see any iOS malware (for non-jailbroken phones) in the wild.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-Hsiung/526240554 Jack Hsiung

          no you are wrong. Mac OS user base is 1/10 of pc user base. as a programmer myself, I would never want to write anything for Mac

          • arabsrulechina

            no, he’s right. Apple’s software architecture that severely restricts app access to the kernel makes writing malware almost impossible. At the end of the day, Macs are infinitely more resistant to viruses. This fact can’t be denied.

          • steve_wildstrom

            I dont want to criticize your defense of me, but you are conflating iOS and OS X, which have very different security architectures despite sharing a kernel. The iOS kernel is tightly defended by sandboxing all apps are severely restricting access to core OS functions.

            Under the lastest OS X rules, which took effect with Mountain Lion, developers have a choice. If they want to be distributed through the Mac App Store, they must accept sandboxing, though it is less restrictive than the iOS version. But they can write apps with full OS access and distribute through other means.

    • Zyo

      And what does PC virus have anything to do with Android (which is Linux)?
      Also good luck believing Macs don’t have virus.

  • http://brianmschoedel.wordpress.com/ Brian Schoedel

    Lighting cable will bring some new revenue for Apple & accessory manufacturers. Everyone will need to buy newly designed & compatible iPhone devices. Each customer that opts for the extra adapter alone will be 15% bump on every sale.

    As the next generation of iPads come out you’ll get another bump. Take it to the bank. Apple obsessed fans your addiction just got a lot more expensive.

    • jfutral

      The amount of revenue that will be generated by this adaptor for Apple will be negligible for a few reasons.

      First my buying an iPhone 5 for myself not automatically make my 4, my wife’s 4s, or my daughter’s 3gs unusable. At the very least, if my daughter does not inherit my 4, she will at least be able to split my cables and docks with my wife.

      Second, I don’t use any accessory for my iPhone that would require an adaptor other than my auto charger, so this doesn’t really affect me. I suspect this is true for a large number, if not a large majority, of iPhone 5 buyers. At that price i will probably buy a new charger. All my USB chargers are still usable since a USB cable comes with the iPhone.

      However, and third, if I used an accessory, such as an audio or video player, and I did not give my 4 to my daughter, I now have a device I can dedicate to that player without tying up my phone.

      Fourth, Apple always offers an Apple branded solution that will no doubt be quickly undercut in price by 3rd party makers. If the price is THAT much of an issue, patience will be rewarded. If the need is that urgent and timing is everything, as with anything tech, it is money well spent.

      Fifth, with each new model release there has always been something. When the 3 came out, cases and docks from the original iPhone would not fit. When the 4 came out, many accessories designed for the 3gs would not fit a 4. This is nothing new, it just relates to the 10 year old connector! In that regard, we are lucky it took them this long to change the connector.

      All in all, this is going to affect so small a portion of Apple customers that any money made will hardly be noticed. In one regard is a service for those who need that adaptor now to tide them over until better 3rd party solutions are available.

      Online tech writers and bloggers are making a far bigger issue out of this than it really it. I guess it makes for more clicks.

      Joe

      • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

        You’re partially right. But why not directly a few USB ports ?

    • jfutral

      And actually, mathematically, it would be more of a 4% bump for Apple if you take into consideration the price is carrier subsidized (around $700+ unsubsidized).

      Joe

    • http://twitter.com/streakin667 JoJo

      Isn’t that what companies do? make money off of us. They don’t give us a break on what they have to offer. Buy a new car you’ll see what I mean.

    • AdamChew

      Hilarious,

      Spend once and you enjoy its usage over the years which means you pay very little for it.

      But then some people think their privacy is not important by selling their soul to the company which sells their data.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

        apple and oranges…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-Hsiung/526240554 Jack Hsiung

      that is completely bogus. Lightning port has LESS bandwidth than USB 3.0, as it is based around USB 2.0 spec (http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/12/apples-new-lightning-connector-what-it-does-and-doesnt-change/)

      meaning it has less functionality than usb 3.0 enabled micro-usb.

      • RF9

        It’s not based on USB 2.0 or USB 3.0. The limitation is what they put in tot he phone. The current iPhone 5 is limited to USB 2.0, but a future iPad or iPhone 6 could work at USB 3.0 speeds with the same cable. The “lightning” cable is independent of USB specs.

  • jbyrne

    I’m not sure I buy the argument to be honest (rant follows :P ).

    1 watt in the difference isn’t that much.

    The 3rd generation iPad already takes nearly 6 hrs to charge (356 min or so), 10% more is about 36 more minutes. The already huge wait to fully charge makes a 36min extra wait almost negligible in any practical setting, it’s not as if you can just plug it in before you head off for a quick charge anyway. Also from the USB specs it seems the micro USB can draw this 1.8A while the data lines are also drawing 0.5 (3 of them, making it handle at least 2.3A) so that makes you wonder if it’s not that hard to draw even closer to the 2A that supposedly makes all the difference.

    This argument also completely misses the point with regards the ubiquity of the micro-usb connection, the main benefit. Most usb female connections in the world won’t provide the 10watts discussed in the article anyway (there are probably a few wall plug adapters that will actually put out 2A). So I don’t see what it’s adding here. If they had gone with the micro-usb
    they would be able to charge on a much larger range of devices (with ubiquitous and standard technology), just not at the fastest possible. If it’s an argument for consistency in charge times, it’s already gone as they have the standard iPad charger and the USB charging on some of the Apple notebooks, which already charge at different rates.

    Now if the argument is because it has 8 pins (if they have an added purpose) over the 5 found in the usb, or the fact that it’s reversible (I like that), then fair enough, I just don’t agree with the argument above.

    that’s my two cents, end rant…

    • steve_wildstrom

      The data pins of the USB connection as a rated maximum power in the spec, but they are not used to deliver power to the device. Pin 1 is power and Pin 5 is the power ground.

      USB 3 ports are spec’ed to supply 1.8 A at 5 VDC. USB 2 is 1 A @ 5 VFC. USB 1.1 is 500 mA @ 5 VDC and won’t charge an iPad at all.

      • johnsy

        You don’t seem to understand.. rj5555 is right… the current is the limiting factor not the total power :D.
        USB specs are for 5VDC power supply, relying only on 2 pins.
        But, as written above:
        “sgs3 has extra pins (not part of the usb spec) these extra pins could be used for delivering extra current.
        The
        Archos uses another solution, when you connect their cable and their
        adapter to their tablet, the adapter switches to 12v (at @1.5A, so
        18W)”

        It was simply lack of will on Apple’s behalf.

        • Mike

          I don’t understand what do you don’t understand? Mr Wildstrom is talking about the USB specifications, not an extra pin(s). Both of them are right but are describing different things, the benefit of the USB spec is standardization – it isn’t perfect but it is a design spec

        • http://www.facebook.com/hazydave Dave Haynie

          Don’t know about the SG3, but the Galaxy Note and Note Pro use the Micro USB 3.0 connector. Standard USB, and backward compatible with the standard 2.0 micro connector.

          ASUS also uses a higher charging voltage in their USB dongles for the Transformer series. It’s not a great implementation, as they basically don’t charge from a 5V USB port. This is non-standard, but USB did add the new charging and power deliver specs, which do this in a standard way, and allow up to 5A and voltages at +5V, +12V, and +20V. I had a Transformer Infinity, it was a very fast charge, around 15V, but I didn’t like their proprietary method.

  • rj5555

    The 11 pin connector on my sgs3, which is fully compatible with the 5 pin micro usb. Can support nearly 20watt.
    IF Apple would had wanted they could easily used a similar solution as the sgs3 (or other devices like the Archos 101 g9)

    • steve_wildstrom

      The limitation of 1.8 amps is in the specification published by the USB Implementors Forum, the official standards body for USB. That means you cannot count on pushing more than 9 W across any standard micro USB connector. 20 W is well over 2X spec, and without circuitry to limit current, you’d be looking at a real fire hazard.

      • rj5555

        The sgs3 has extra pins (not part of the usb spec) these extra pins could be used for delivering extra current.
        The Archos uses another solution, when you connect their cable and their adapter to their tablet, the adapter switches to 12v (at @1.5A, so 18W)(as and electronics engineer can tell you; the current is the limiting factor not the total power) if you use another cable or adapter the tablet changes at snail pace.
        Both solutions work while at the same time maintaining usb compatability

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-Hsiung/526240554 Jack Hsiung

        99.9999999999999999% users DO NOT CARE the 1 W difference , maybe 1/10th slower charging time??

        give us microusb or bust!

        • Mike

          Jack, you are spot on. The lack of a microusb charger has killed the iPhone 5

          • http://twitter.com/leicaman leicaman

            Killed the iPhone 5. On what planet?

          • foljs

            He’s being sarcastic.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1198781307 JungleBoi Tee

            Inaccurate.

      • http://www.facebook.com/hazydave Dave Haynie

        Old information. The current (sic) USB power delivery spec supports currents to 5A, as well as +5V, +12V, and +20V power rail options. A device has to ask for the higher voltages. Power delivery is different than the minimum expected from any host, which is 100mA or 500mA from all forms, 900mA for USB 3.0. So there’s plenty of power for charging using current USB specs. While relatively new, these specs pre-date the Lightning connector. And the USB 3.0 connectors supported higher currents even earlier.

        The obvious reason Apple doesn’t use it is the fact they want to control their connector. Period. They want their 30% per thing that goes on an iOS device, HW or SW. They also want to invent their wheel their way. USB did signal swapping, for analog audio way back, MHL video some years back, also long before Lightning existed. But should Apple decide to support a Lightning adapter in the future, to keep up with today’s USB 3.0 devices (I’m typing on one, a Samsung tablet), rather than just go to USB 3.0, it’s their call. No need for committees.

        Absolutely no reason they couldn’t include both, even a micro USB jack just for charging. But that would be “ugly”, and eliminate all the money Apple makes licensing power supply dongles. Another concern, probably vanishing, is the commonality of the connector. Before everyone else got together on miniUSB, Apple had a ton of support for their old connector. I’ve seen cars, hotel rooms, airport charging stations, all with the old 30-pin connector. That was telling everyone that Apple was first class, the rest of you second class, far as these resources went. It’s mostly gone to USB A connectors now, but Apple may still be trying to push theirs, to exclude the competition. A clear goal of the EU laws on this are to make connection uniform, like your AC plugs.

    • Just Me

      One point that everyone seems to be missing is that the new connector undoubtably has more function than just charging the phone. It will be very interesting to see what shows up.

      • steve_wildstrom

        I assume you are basing this on the report from Double Helix Cables picked up by AppleInsider. First, that report said nothing about this chip supporting DRM. It calls it an “authentication chip”–something very different, nut presents no evidence even to support that claim. It is true that companies that want to make Lighting cables or adapters will need licenses from Apple, but that was true of the 30-pin as well.

  • anonymouse

    I have bought my last AAPL product ever. The move to Lightning is a cynical marketing ploys and a major FU to what has been the loyal customer base in history. So long.

    • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

      Grow up. Also read the article before making such a foolish comment.

    • http://twitter.com/EitelSanchez Eitel Sanchez

      I don’t remember people crying this much when phone manufacturers switch from mini USB to micro USB.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

        Maybe because it was something GOOD ?

  • jfutral

    So here is what is sort of ironic about this. Apple gets lambasted for not coming up with something totally different with the iPhone. But here they have. And the lambasting doesn’t stop.

    Go figure,
    Joe

    • Zyo

      This is about adopting industrial standard and not to waste resource (talk about useless adapters and accessories). They need to innovate in areas that improves user experience not restricting it.

      • jfutral

        Sorry, this is about making things up to complain about. Even if they went for some sort of (implied superior, which it really isn’t) industry standard, nothing would change, people would still have to replace all those supposed accessories they spent decades collecting for thousands of dollars (sarcastic exaggeration illustrating the absurdity of the issue).

        There is nothing about adopting some “industry standard” data/recharge connector that would improve user experience.

        And people like you would still complain, and probably about adopting an industry standard, and probably, then, along the lines of “Apple loses innovative spark—must adopt unimaginative industry standard”.

        Joe

        • Zyo

          Wrong, did you see me or anyone complain about standard USB port on a Mac?

          • jfutral

            Whether or not I saw you or anyone complain about standard USB port on a Mac (and for the record, I did see people complain, but that is still irrelevant), this is not what we are talking about, are we? We are talking about micro USB charging on an iPhone, and I am talking about no matter what Apple would have done, people like you would find something to complain about.

            Joe

          • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

            People like me have to charge the ipad while using an external usb device. It is still impossible with this design even if it is needed to use in a convenient way some apps in the appstore. Shall I shut up to preserve Apple’s sense of beauty ?

          • JLB

            The fact remains, the complaint is that old devices will have to be replaced. That would have still been true if Apple had used a micro USB port.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

            Old devices don’t have to be replaced. They have to evolve, and/or be complemented… if they become unefficient enough.

      • http://twitter.com/jkichline Jason Kichline

        It does improve the user experience. I can’t count how many micro USB plugs have broken for me and how much time it takes me to get the dang plug in. Maybe that’s cheap Chinese crap cable (which Apple is also ensuring quality in those who make these accessories). EVERYTIME I plug in a USB cord, it goes in the wrong way and I need to turn it around to get it to plug in. I just got a USB 3.0 HD today… same thing. The Lightening connector is so much easier in that regard. It goes in either way and it’s not fragile.

        Not just that, but it’s ONE CONNECTOR. You don’t need Micro HDMI or Micro DVI or need to plug in the headphone jack to get audio. If goes through one cable and can charge at the same time. It’s quite a piece of engineering that surpasses the original 30-pin connector.

        So you can say Apple doesn’t innovate, and yet when they push the industry forward (as they ALWAYS do), you complain about it because they don’t use industry standards which evidently have a serious limitation in power.

        • steve_wildstrom

          The micro USB connector is a truly dreadful design. You have to look really closely to tell the straight side from the curved side and even when you have it right, it’s really fiddly to get it lined up properly (the original Kindle Fire is particularly nasty.) And Lightning is a very clever design, with switching that allows software to control the function of the eight pins for different uses. Maybe it’s not innovation on the scale of the iPad itself, but its a fairly big deal.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

            Lightning shouldn’t be compared to micro USB, but to regular USB.

          • Mechanic40

            I have to agree with you Steve. Have you seen the horrible micro-b usb 3.0 connector? It is the most horrible design I have ever seen and about as user friendly as a porcupine. I believe the new Galaxy note 3 uses it what a horrible plug.

      • Andrew Munster

        The usb micro b standard is the worst posable plug because breaks to easily.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1198781307 JungleBoi Tee

      That’s utterly facile and contrived.

      • jfutral

        The criticism of Apple on this matter is specious and contrived.

        Joe

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1198781307 JungleBoi Tee

          How do you figure? The criticism is that they used proprietary new connectors instead of industry standards. Please explain how that is either specious or contrived.

          • jfutral

            Well, to start off with, the fact that no one cares anymore speaks volumes to me.

            Second, most of the criticism (actually all that I’ve read) has been based on emotional cynicism, even former Apple dude Guy Kawasaki’s criticism. No one has laid out a rational explanation on how Apple’s customers, Apple, or the industry at large (which ever “industry” that happens to actually be has also been left out of the conversation) would benefit from Apple adopting the inferior microUSB connector. I do not have a single device that uses a microUSb connector anymore, so I get no benefit. I have a ton of older Moto and hard drive devices that used the miniUSB connector and a few more that use USB “a”, or is that “b”? So much for standards.

            Third, as Mr. Wildstrom has pointed out continually through these responses, the micro USB connector is already too old and failing to meet the needs of other manufacturers as well as those who use the connector are already altering their use from the prescribed standards. Going forward, maybe in about 2 years, I would be surprised if anyone else still uses the microUSB connector. So much for standards.

            Fourth, Apple never used the micro USB connector anyway. Why does anyone care now? Oh, in reality, they don’t.

            So people are arguing for technology that is older than Abraham thinking this is superior, either as technology or as customer experience? Right. They just want to complain about Apple. It has nothing to do with technology or customer experience.

            If you are basing your purchasing decision on this connector, I say stick with a feature phone and skip smartphones all together.

            Joe

          • steve_wildstrom

            I’m amazed both that this thread is still alive and that the original post is still being read regularly.

            In the months since Lightning was introduced, I hav only become more convinced that Apple made the right decision. Unlike USB, I can plug a Lightning cable in in the dark on the first try. And as I have note repeatedly, micro USB simply is not suitable for fast charging of tablets because of the 5 W limitation.

            My big wish is that Apple would license it freely, but that doesn’t seem to be about to happen.

          • jfutral

            True enough. And i experienced it the same way within a week of owning my iPhone 5, plugging the cable in in the dark on the first try. This to me is one of those “Duh” things. I can’t even get my firewire or other USB cables plugged in correctly the first time. ALL connectors should be this simple.

            But there ain’t no one writing about it anymore (that I’ve seen) and it certainly hasn’t stopped people from buying either the iPhone or iPad. Both of which tells me that this was a fabricated issue (not by you, of course).

            Joe

  • http://twitter.com/davester13 D R

    What IS bogus about the connector is that Apple requires a proprietary chip in the cable just to connect, solely in name of DRM, namely, the ‘right’ to make a cable that works with the iPhone [and eventually the iPad].

    • RF9

      You don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s not a DRM chip. In fact there is no evidence it does any kind of DRM at all. The port is reversible and digital. The chip is required to do signal and power switching between the different pins. For example they can turn most or all pins in to power/charging pins if they want when other uses aren’t require.

  • orbitly

    It also doesn’t support audio and video out, which are big for iOS devices. Lots of teachers use iPad’s with adapters to hook up to displays, and then of course audio out to speaker system docks.

    • steve_wildstrom

      This is not correct. There’s a lot of confusion about this, caused partly by some poor communication by Apple.

      The two things not supported are “iPod Out,” a specific type of connection used by some car systems, especially BMW; and analog, composite video, the kind that uses a single yellow RCA plug.

      Analog out is still supported through the Lightning-to-30-pin adapter (and, of course, through the 3.5 mm headphone jack). Digital video out (VGA/DVI/HDMI) is also supported through the adapter and direct Lightning video cables are in the works.

      I would hope that even schools have moved beyond composite video, which gives a horrible quality display, especially for text. VGA is pretty ancient too, but it is still widely used, especially on projectors, and does an adequate job.

      • orbitly

        I was talking about Micro USB, actually, supporting Apple’s decision.

        • steve_wildstrom

          Sorry; I misinterpreted your comment. USB only has four active pins–two for power, two for signal.–plus grounds. You can send any serial digital data you want down those signal pins, but the receiving device has to know how to interpret the information. I don;t believe Apple has yet made the full Lightning specification public, but we know it uses adaptive electronics to change the function of the pins depending on the nature of the connected device. That, apparently, is the purpose of the embedded chip, which has been mistakenly described as a “DRM” or “authentication” chip.

    • Max McKenzie

      That’s funny, I’ve watched many a HD video off my Sony Xperia Z1 via an MHL connector. Oh but of course heaven forbid Apple would embrace common standards. That’d be too, well, common.

  • jfutral

    Well, I have to say, now that I’ve have and used my iPhone 5 is that if all connectors where reversible like this connector, my user experience would be much better.

    Joe

  • Daleos

    My ASUS supplied Nexus 7 charger says it can supply 2A.
    Power = Voltage * Current so 5V*2A=10W

  • Rich

    The simple rebuttal is: micro-usb, it just makes sense. With every peripheral, gadget or geegaw that supports micro-usb, I breathe a little sigh of relief. If I had an Iphone or ipad, a micro-usb to Apple connector would be a mandatory everywhere-carry accessory. I know you like Apple and their i-gear and I can’t fault that but I really think you’re making excuses here.

    • steve_wildstrom

      Now that I have been using an iPhone 5 with Lightning for some time I feel far more strongly that Lightning was the right way to go because it is superior to micro-USB in every respect. Not only is it far easier to inset and far more robust, it can handle both power and data for large tablets and still charge them in a reasonable amount of time. I just hope that Apple will license it as a standard.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

        Lightning should be compared to USB, not micro USB.

  • Scott

    I am suprised that they were allowed to launch the phone in Europe without a FREE Micro USB adapter and even that is still a pain having to carry it everywhere. What is the Point of the EEC making regulations if they can just be ignored by large companies.

    • steve_wildstrom

      The EC apparently only requires that USB charging be available, not that it be free.

      But more importantly, the EC requirement shows the downside of prescriptive regulation because it locks everyone into a bad standard for the sake of, well, standardization. Having used Lightning, I definitely do not want to go back to USB. And I am able to use the same charging unit for both simply by swapping cables. (Actually, it’s a three-way deal with a Lightning cable for my iPhone 5, a 30-pin for my iPad, and microUSB for miscellaneous other stuff.)

      This is really much ado about nothing.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

        Try to charge your ipad while using the external usb device that is required for some apps, then…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002869524301 Joshua Stevens

    The connector is used for more complicated things, like ECG monitors, and other medical equipment. 7.1 uncompressed audio. There are endless numbers of possibilities that they will use it for, not just charging and syncing. I think some people need to look outside the box a little.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

      You mean outside of the apple’s box ?

  • Mike

    Why do Apple claim to have a USB adapter for the iPad when the frigging thing fails to meet ANY real USB specification to the extent it wont support memory sticks. They should have put in BOLD letters that its an UNPOWERED USB interface only suitable for devices that wont draw any power !

    • steve_wildstrom

      Apple calls this device the iPad Camera Connector, and that is exactly what it is. Apple has never claimed it is a general-purpose USB adapter. Not only is it unpowered but the iPad lacs drivers for other USB devices. apple is completely upfront about this.

      Android supports a limited range of USB devices, mainly mass storage and human interface. Windows RT offers broader support, but you have to check the compatibility list. Windows 8 supports pretty much anything.

      • Mike

        For a company thats so pedantic about look and feel that it has to go to court its misleading to use the term USB when its only the acronym (USB) that bears any relationship to the industry standard USB specification. The packaging on the box implies USB and the connectivity implies USB when they talk about connecting it to a camera but no where did it implicitly state it couldn’t support the most common of memory devices. That would be like selling a car but omitting to tell people it had no reverse gear.

        When USB was designed it was clear it couldn’t power a printer for instance and it was very clear that large devices had to be powered from 110/230 volts. USB was designed for low power 5 volt devices like memory sticks, hubs, cameras, web cams, modems and all manner of low power devices both for connectivity and power. Not only that its used as a charger for these devices as well.

        Apple in their desperate attempt to save power and make a killing on add ons that should have been integrated, definitely pulled a fast one by implying USB was there when its just connectivity.

        • steve_wildstrom

          This is the full text of Apple’s description of the device in question:

          Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit

          The iPad Camera Connection Kit gives you two ways to import photos and videos from a digital camera: using your camera’s USB cable or directly from an SD card. iPad and the Camera Connection Kit support standard photo formats, including JPEG and RAW, along with SD and HD video formats, including H.264 and MPEG-4.

          The only place they refer to USB is “using your camera’s USB cable.”

          Apple has a very clear design philosophy for iOS. iOS does not support installable device drivers and it is that, not the availability or lack of 5W (not volts; all USB connections are 5 vDC) power, that limits the ability to connect most USB peripherals. It does not support mass storage devices, other than camera cards, because iOS doe snot have the user-accessible file system needed to make them useful. Keyboards, but not mice or other pointing devices, are supported, but only through Bluetooth.

          Apple’s goal is to provide a simple, unified user experience and has been very successful doing that. It is perfectly happy if potential customers who find these limitations excessive go elsewhere because it believes it gains more than it loses by doing so.

          • Mike

            Apples design philosophy isn’t being questions as we all know where Apple sits with its closed architecture approach. The issue is with its marketing blurb that implies that its a USB connection that everyone else understands when in actuality it isn’t.

            Cameras, like any other USB slave device still require that the host has drivers to communicate so there has to be some form of USB driver other wise it wouldn’t connect. USB memory sticks, cameras & portable disk drives are ALL seen as ‘disk drive’ type devices on computers of any flavor as demonstrated by the drive letter assignment so there isn’t any real difference between them other than power requirements.

            Obviously the memory card doesn’t require any driver as such as its a simple dumb device compared to the other device types.

            I think you have it wrong as the real issue is lack of power on an iPad for a memory stick as I have read of unofficial ways of connecting a portable HDD to an iPad providing its powered separately so there has to be suitable USB drivers on the iPad just as there has to be for a camera (they are the same). One company who sells this add on even partitions the hard drive into many separate partitions of the same size as that used on the iPad.

            On the power front, the official spec for USB2 is actually 0.5 amps of delivery or 2.5 watts which is more than adequate for a USB memory stick. Some Mobos do offer 1 amp to cater for charging devices like tablets that draw more power but thats not in the original spec and nor is it really necessary as most tablets are usually recharged by adaptors and not from a PC/Laptop.

          • steve_wildstrom

            This is getting a bit silly as I don’t even know what Apple marketing materials you refer to.

            Of course iOS has a driver to support importing photos. I haven’t seen the code, but I assume it is a limited mass storage driver that looks for a folder called “DCIM” on the device and imports the contents into the photo library on the iOS device.

            iOS doesn’t support other mass storage devices because there is no way for users to deal with the contents. What you can do with a jailbroken device is totally beside the point, because you then are no longer dealing with iOS as Apple intended it.

            Many Macs include3 modified USB 2.0 ports that supply 1000mA@5 VDC. This is in excess of the power spec of the USB 2.0 standard and is used for iOS charging, though charging an iPad that way takes a long time. 10″ tablets are generally charged at 10 W, which takes me around to the original point of this post: 10W exceeds the power capacity of the microUSB connector.

          • Mike

            It is getting a bit silly but my original post was that the iPad did not meet the international electrical specifications for USB2 which is the ability to deliver 5 volt at 0.5 amps.

            The iPad obviously has a USB driver otherwise camera connectivity wouldn’t work on a generic USB slave device like a camera. The fact that a portable HDD can also work on the iPad WITHOUT jail breaking it means that the USB driver in the iPad will work on any generic USB 2 storage device providing the power needs for that device are met by an external source. Try removing the battery on an attached camera and I’ll guarantee it won’t work compared to a PC or Android tablet as there isn’t enough power.

            That being the case, a USB memory would also work on an iPad providing you could make an adaptor cable/PSU that provided external power to the memory stick . In actuality, the size of a memory stick makes little effect to the power drawn and generally USB thumb drives consume under 100 ma at most. This can easily be substantiated by using a 4 port hub with 4 memory sticks.

            The bottom line is there is very little USB power available from an iPad to allow a memory stick to function properly and thats the problem not USB drivers. As a consequence, its not USB compliant and Apple don’t go out of their way to advertise that little gem !

            Perhaps the Macs actually use USB 3 which supplies 900 ma instead of 500 ma but for 10 inch tablets most if not all tablets use a separate PSU rather than USB2 or USB3 power.

          • steve_wildstrom

            Apple doesn’t claim that the Camera connector supports the USB standard so it makes no sense to fault them for not supporting the standard.

            The newest Macs do have USB 3 but older ones have USB 2.0 with a high-power variant that supplies 5 W. Apple now offers a 12 W charger. Like other charges, it uses a USB “A” to 30-pin or Lightning cable, so I assume it must use circuitry to detect the device on the other end and limit the power if it is not an iPad, iPhone, or iPod. Otherwise, it might exceed the power rate of a microUSB connector.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

            I claim that apple doesn’t offer the regular USB standards though i need it to properly use some apps they sell.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

            Correction : 10 W exceeds the power capacity ot the micro USB current specifications. But so already does the charging through a standard USB cable…

  • Rikin

    I don’t think you can argue against switching to Lightning Cable because of the lack of backwards compatibility AND argue that they should have switched to micro-USB at the same time. If you’re pissed off that they changed the old pin connector in the first place you can’t exactly say that they should have gone to a different format that also wasn’t backwards compatible – where’s the sense in that?

    Also, the last cable lasted 10 years! That’s a LONG time in the electronics world. Most TVs get replaced in less time than that and most people think a 4 year old laptop is dead. Heck, Bluray DVDs might as well be out the window already and EACH one of those was around $25 when they came out. Screw it, I remember paying $300 for a Sharp mini-disk player that not only was outdated in less than two years but broke before it even made that far because of the spring opened hinge.

    Move on with your life and choose whatever works for you – don’t get the new iPhone if you’ve invested so much into a $600 docking station. Airplay will protect you against this in the future and it’s probably why Jambox was smart enough to just go with bluetooth and not worry about the rest.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

      USB lasts since 1996. It is reliable, common, and easy of use. Lightning should be compared to regular USB. Apple has to open up this way with their capacitative products, since they already did it for their other computers. Anyway, think about both endings of the “lightning” cable…

      • Andrew Munster

        may i remind you the usb micro b has the highest failure rate of all modern cables…
        And this is according to the EU own data.

  • http://sandrostudio.com/ Alessandro Brunelli

    Hey thanks for this article, I would have not notice/thought about this hardware change until I got into trouble myself. I assume the 30 pin is going to disappear for good soon?

    • steve_wildstrom

      Lightning will replace the 30-pin on all new products.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dean-SK/100003715102344 Dean SK

    nay, you are wrong. The new iPad 3 takes twice the amount of time to charge and I don’t see your point. We used to travel with the family and many Apple gadgets and tooke with us one charger for all, good old time. Now each one is needed different charger and some look identical but don’t work with the wrong gadget, I had to label them. I think Apple will go down and Korean products will take over with more user friendly and stylist gadgets.

    • steve_wildstrom

      At worst you take a 10- or 12-watt charger and two cables, 30-pin and Lightning. It’s no big deal.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ju.kap.18 Ju Kap

        It is for a portable designed device…

  • Horris

    What are the max amps and volts allowed by the apple lightning connector, I’m just curious.

  • dougie v

    I like the ipad for porno

  • Kayser Wong

    I think the Apple Lightning connection is a great design. I see no reason why they should follow the “standard” as we know it. The micro USB EU choose is not a good one even within the USB standard. USB has very confusing designs, all are only 4 pins but have 6 different form factors: USB-A, USB-B, USB mini-A, USB mini-B, USB micro-A, USB micro-B. Just by looking at it, you know the design has flaws. A good design should be able to take care of most applications, even you create an alternative to broaden the application, you don’t make 6 of them. All these are after thoughts designs.

    I don’t understand why people will just support something even it’s clearly bad. micro-USB is the smallest, and being choose by EU as a standard, but it’s flimsy, and incompetent.

    You buy so many devices that has so many different kind of connectors that all doing the same thing, no added benefits but only manufacture shortcuts for device makers.

    Apple make only 1 change to this USB connection for their idevice (30 pins and then tis 8 pins lightning) in the last 10 years, and people cry foul? People don’t complaint the confusing and dreadful USB connector designs?

    If Apple want to be in that position, I rather they take the lead and make a standard for all the digital devices, because by far their design is superior and forward looking.

    • steve_wildstrom

      The phone manufacturers argued hard for micro-USB because of its size, ignoring it’s blatantly obvious deficiencies. Then tablets came along and they found themselves with a standard that wasn’t up to the job because of current limitations, so most tablets, at least large onces, have to use either a proprietary connector or a separate charing connector. I usually like standards, but this time Apple made the right call. I do wish they would make Lightning available to others for little or no charge because of its clear superiority.

  • pat

    Apple made the right choice here, micro usb is a bad design. I still scratch my head how it still is called the standard when there are more poeple who complain about it rather than complement it. Its weak, and all though this is somehow standardized companies still somehow manage to differ on certain specs… why one micro usb cord would work on one phone and not the next is just absolute proof that whoever designed it was not doing it for the best intrest of the people. Mini usb never gave me problems… not once but every damn phone I ever had with micro… always problems.

  • Sean McLeod

    More importantly, why would you want to go to micro USB? Anyone that owns an Android phone could probably tell you that it absolutely sucks. In my opinion micro USB is the biggest issue with most android phones. I’d kill to have a charging connector that actually locks properly into my Galaxy s2. Trust me, you don’t want a micro usb charging port.

  • Ed

    Their proprietary connector came out with the first iPod. I doubt it needed 1.8A! iPhone charger is only 1A.

    • steve_wildstrom

      The original 30-pin connector linked to Firewire, not USB. I believe it predated the adoption, and certainly the widespread use, of the micro USB connector.

      • Ed

        I think my point is Apple have always had their own connectors, even after micro USB adoption. Only recently did they develop an official adapter. I personally don’t think it had much to do with power output – more about functionality including HDMI, though they have valid reasons for the iPad and it’s 1.8A charging requirements. Interesting to note is that the Asus Nexus 7 tab has a 2A micro USB charger… that said, although the charger is rated at 2A, the device doesn’t necessarily draw 2A while charging. I’m now curious to find out how much it draws while charging.

      • Ed

        Seems my previous comment went awol. Trying again. I think my point is that Apple have chosen to avoid micro USB even after it’s adoption for different reasons – like being able to outpud HDMI on the same cable. Agreed, the 1.8A limit on Micro USB is an issue for iPad, but other than that device, what else requires it? Also, I see the Nexus 7 has a 2A Micro USB charger, though I doubt it outputs that much while charging. I’d be interested to see if Asus have exceeded the USB spec on that one.

  • kart_125cc

    A little late to the party, but I disagree with the “lightning” connector. Let me try to address each issue.

    One of the “arguments” pro-lightning is that it is “technically” superior, or that the USB connector esp. the micro-b connector is inferior.

    So two things on that: (a) Sometimes “technical” superiority isn’t the most important thing in the world. Sometimes there are other factors that are also important that can outweigh “technical” superiority. Beta max was “technically” superior to VHS – but it turned out that “technical superiority” wasn’t the most important thing to consumers. The “best” solution isn’t always the “technically” superior solution for the sake of technical superiority – but rather the solution that does the _best_ job at _optimally_ meeting consumer needs/wants/demands that can be and often are contradictory. For example the classic design trade of cost/performance. A “technically” superior product is absolutely useless if that superiority renders it unaffordable/unobtainable by consumers. How does a technically superior product benefit consumers if it cannot be obtained and utilized by consumers? Maybe a little less technical superiority and a little more availability/accessibility and usability/usefulness to consumers would be of greater consumer benefit? I use that cost/performance trade as an example but there are many other design and consumer factors that also play into that equation that can be every bit as important as “technical superiority”. Don’t get me wrong, as a design engineer – “technical superiority” is of major interest to me. But also as a design engineer, my job isn’t to design the most “technically superior” product, but the product that will _best_ serve consumer needs by _whatever_ metrics happen to be most important to those consumers.

    (b) It may very well be that the USB micro-b connector is less than would be hoped for. But hope all you want, that doesn’t change the fact that _that_ is the de facto standard. And this has to do with network effect. You might say, for example, that current automotive design standards are inferior and that cars should be designed differently. But those are the standards we have to work with. If this ostensible “better” design standard rendered the car unusable on public roads, how is that car to be preferred to one that, albeit inferior, but nonetheless _can_ be used on public roads? So it is with USB micro-b connectors. That’s what my portable election have on them and whining about how inferior that may be doesn’t change that.

    To utilize my portable electronics, I want to have the _minimal_ amount of special and unique cables and support equipment. With one USB charger and one USB cable, I can charge ALL of my devices. And I never have to deal with “oops, I forgot the special cable for that piece of equipment, now I can’t use it.” Well, the lightning connector, for me is _that_ cable. If I were to have an Apple product, now I have to carry the “special” stuff just for that on top of the (already too much) stuff I have for all my other electronics. I’m trying to _cut down_ on unique “support equipment”, not add yet more unique stuff. Whatever ostensible “benefit” there may be to the lightning connector, it’s not enough to justify needing an additional special cable for it.

    The iPad requires more power than can be safely delivered by USB to charge the device? Ok, fine. But here’s the thing, but NOT having USB, I _can’t_ charge it at all unless I have that special cable. Let’s see, a choice between not charging at all if I get caught out without a lightning cable or charging slowly but at least being able to charge it? I’ll take charge slowly over not at all.

    The thing is there ARE ways to deal with that. If they want to use a special connector, ok fine. But how is that a mutually exclusive choice? They can’t put a micro-b to at least allow for the option of utilizing _standard USB_ equipment without needing special cables? I made the mistake of buying an Asus Transformer tablet without doing due diligence. They utilize a proprietary connector without allowance for a standard USB connection. Had I realized that beforehand, I would not have bought it. But I do give them kudos for doing some things that Apple could have learned from vis a vis your making an issue out of the limited current capacity of USB.

    So, two things they did do right: (1) they charge at a higher voltage – this reduces the current requirements (as was pointed out in another post), so, current limitation problem solved. (2) the charger they provide has a standard USB connector (3.0 Type A). Somehow (that I haven’t yet reverse engineered the full details of yet) the charger detects what is plugged in so that it only outputs the higher voltage when the Asus is plugged in but outputs 5V for everything else. So in theory, that charger could be my _one_ charger for all (although it’s still a unique cable). So in theory, Asus actually could have used a standard USB connector, but in this particular case, that connector also doubles as the connector to the detachable keyboard. However, I still think they should have included a standard micro USB connector.

    You also cite “safety” concerns for higher charge currents. But the thing is this: (a) most devices self-limit the charge current they draw. (b1) This self limiting can be in the form of sensing voltage drop to sense current limits of external equipment and not draw more current that a certain voltage drop – after all it is the voltage drop times the current that is the fire hazard. No voltage drop – no hazard. (b2) Source devices have limit circuits that limit the current they put out. So even if a device could or tried to pull more current, the charger would self-limit anyway. So it’s not like a charging device is going to overload a charger to a hazardous condition (though of course, designs should not rely on such safety mechanisms for proper operation by design). (b3) With most devices (both devices and chargers) now supporting the BC2.1 spec – there is a highly capable and sophisticated mechanism in place to facilitate the most optimal charge conditions with the available equipment.

    And even if the circumstances are not such that a device can’t be charged during operation (on a net charging vs. discharging basis), at least battery life can be extended as _any_ current available from an external source means less draw from the battery – thus a longer operational time. I should be the one to make that call. Don’t deny me that choice just because you think that is “inadequate”. Sure I would prefer to have optimal fast charging capability. But absent that, as I’ve already stated, “inadequate” charging is still better than no charging at all. I mean it’s great that my Asus charges crazy fast, but that doesn’t do me any good if I can’t charge at all if I’m caught out without _that_ charger.

    • steve_wildstrom

      It is, as you say, late in the day. But I just want to say that after a year of using the Lightning connector on my iPhone 5 and now 5s and continuing to struggle with micro-USB connectors on other devices, the superior usability of Lightning is just overwhelming.

      I keep a Ventev wall charger with two USB ports in my backpack and always have a Lightning cable, an Apple 30-pin cable, and a micro-USB cable. If I need something else–the Samsung cable for a Galaxy Note 10.1 or mini-USB for something older–I toss that in tow. With that setup, I can charge two of anything any time I have a wall outlet.

  • Raj Brar

    Playbook charger pushes out 2.1 Amps. No tricks involved.

  • Anon

    How many morons do we have here that complain that they have difficulty inserting a micro-USB the correct way? It’s not rocket science to plug something in the right way.

  • mike_s123

    The USB A connector is only required to support 1.5 A, less than the spec for the micro USB connector. Yet, Apple uses that beyond its specification.

  • World Cup

    “pins 1 and 5, are rated to carry 1.8 amps at 5 volts DC”… Hummm, so my 2 USB power supplies that deliver 2.1amps and 2.5amps are a fire hazard? If I use them to charge my tablet that requires 2amps, am I in danger of becoming homeless and having a big bill from the fire department? Not buying your lightning cable theory