The iPhone 5 may cost the same as the iPhone 4S did when it was first released last year, but as for a replacement charger for the hot new Apple handset, well, you’re going to have to cough up some more cash.
The USB power adapter plus a 30-pin USB cable — the full charger setup for an iPhone 4S or older, iPad, or iPod — costs $29 through Apple’s website, just as it always has. However, Apple does not sell the USB power adapter and the new Lightning dock connector cable for the iPhone 5 together — you have to buy those separately, at a cost of $19 apiece.
That means iPhone 5 customers are forced to pay $9 more — an increase of roughly 24 percent — for a replacement or spare charger setup than customers with the iPhone 4S or older.
This does not make much sense, at least on the surface. Like the standard 30-pin to USB cable, a new Lightning cable will cost you $19. So theoretically, Apple should offer iPhone 5 customers the package deal (USB adapter plus Lightning cable) at a cost of $29.
We’ve reached out to Apple to see if they have a $29 Lightning charger package in the works, but have not yet heard back. We will update this space as soon as we do.
The 24 percent price hike follows complaints about the new Lightning-to-30-pin adapter, which comes with every iPhone 5, due to its relatively high cost: A replacement for that will cost you $29 (or $39) through Apple.
All said, we would be highly surprised if this jump in price is permanent; the company didn’t officially raise the price of the full charger setup, after all. It simply failed to offer that option, meaning we have to piece it together ourselves, at a cost. Further, we doubt the $9 difference will have much impact on sales of the iPhone 5, which have already topped 5 million in just a matter of days. Still, forcing iPhone 5 customers to lay out an extra nine bucks for a replacement charger seems to us an unhelpful oversight, at best.