Apple’s new Lightning cable and its many expensive adaptors *updated*

iPhone 5 with lightning connectorOne of the key changes on the new iPhone 5 is the introduction of the Lightning, a new cable replacement for the old 30-pin connector, introduced nearly ten years ago, that we all know and (sometimes) love.
apple september 12 announements

Despite its name going hand-in-hand with Apple’s Thunderbolt connection, it still connects to a USB port, and the changes come at the business end. It’s 80-percent smaller than the old connector, apparently less likely to break and it’s reversible too, so you can plug it into your phone or new iPod without checking its orientation first.

Apple also says its 8-pin, all-digital cable is faster too, but there’s no mention of by how much, or in what respect. We’ll find out more when we get our hands on one.

A lot of adapters

All this sounds good, but it’s not all positive, as anyone with an accessory for an older iPhone that relies on the 30-pin connector won’t be able to instantly use it with the new iPhone 5.

Not to worry, as Apple has a plan, and it involves buying an expensive adapter. The first, and most basic, is at least 80-percent larger than the Lightning and a full 100-percent uglier too. The Lightning to 30-pin adapter costs $29/£25, and is ideally suited to use with audio docks, where the iPhone has to sit on a base. It’s overall steadiness in this situation though, remains to be seen.

Lightning Adapters

If you’d prefer not to precariously balance your new phone on a series of ever-smaller connectors, the Lightning to 30-pin adapter with a cable maybe preferable. It’s as it sounds — splitting the two ends between a 20cm long piece of cable — but will cost you $39/£30 instead. Apple will also sell standard USB to Lightning cables, priced at $19/£15.

No audio and video out

Apple has warned that not every piece of equipment will function even with an adapter, so don’t be surprised if you end up having to buy a new accessory anyway, and the adapters don’t support audio or video out either.

Heading over to Europe, we find another Lightning adapter, and it’s one that Apple has to provide whether it likes it or not. In 2009, a piece of EU legislation was introduced for manufacturers to adopt a common standard for mobile phone chargers, which turned out to be the micro-USB.

Neither the 30-pin connector, nor the new Lightning comply with this, but it’s acceptable to offer an adapter instead, thus we have the Lightning to micro-USB Adapter, which costs £15, or 19 Euros.

If you’re ready to order your new iPhone 5, and want a new dock to go with it, Apple told GigaOm.com that JBL, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins and Bang & Olufsen will be among the first to offer Lightning-equipped docks, and we should look out for them as we get closer to Christmas.

*Update*

Building on the subject of Apple’s new Lightning adapter not offering audio or video, the Apple Store page says “Video and iPod Out not supported,” with the added caveat that “some 30-pin accessories are not supported” underneath. Could this seemingly innocent change bring about a world of problems for those with a wide range of non-Apple accessories?

Of course, Apple will argue that it has given you AirPlay and iCloud, so there’s no real need for annoying cables; but that won’t help everyone. Time for some investigation, so stay tuned.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.
Mobile

The iPhone XS Battery Case's battery has a smaller capacity than previous cases

Apple has been rumored to be working on a new iPhone battery case for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now, those new cases are finally here, offering seven hours of extra use for each iPhone and are available for $129.
Mobile

C you soon? Rumors swirl of a USB-C port on 2019 iPhones

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.
Mobile

Join the Apple club with our complete guide to switching from Android to iOS

If Android simply isn’t cutting it for you anymore, then you might be considering Apple’s warm embrace. Here’s how to make the switch from Android to iOS without losing your contacts, sleep, or hair!
Mobile

It’s back! Here’s how to switch to Twitter’s reverse chronological feed

Twitter has finally brought back the reverse chronological feed, allowing you to see your feed based on the newest tweets, rather than using Twitter's algorithm that shows what it thinks you want to see. It's easy to switch.
Mobile

Want more power, but faster? This new charging tech claims it can deliver

Chunky power bricks and slow charging could be a thing of the past with GaNFast technology from Navitas Semiconductors. By using an alternative to silicon, GaNFast reduces power consumption and boosts output.
Mobile

Having trouble logging in? Here's how to reset your Apple ID password

To use any of Apple's services, you need to have an Apple ID and know your password. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with forgotten passwords and regain access to your account. Here's how to reset your Apple ID password.
Mobile

Turn to these apps to help you in your next hunt for a job

Looking for a job can be a stressful experience, but these days, a simple mobile app can help you to find and apply for jobs all over the country -- here are some of the best job search apps for iOS and Android.
Wearables

Omron HeartGuide brings blood pressure monitoring to your wrist

High blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes, and many other health problems, so it's important to keep an eye on. Omron's HeartGuide is a fitness tracking watch that can also monitor your blood pressure from your wrist.
Mobile

Learn how to play YouTube in the background on iOS and Android

We show you how to play YouTube in the background with apps such as Opera, Chrome, and Firefox -- along with the premium offerings like YouTube Premium -- whether you have an Android or iOS device.
Mobile

Verizon’s deal could get you a free iPhone XR — but there’s some fine print

Verizon launched a new deal for its smartphones aimed at encouraging customers to open a new line. If you're willing and you want two new phones, you could get a free Samsung Galaxy S9, iPhone XR, or Pixel 3.
Computing

Keep your laptop battery in tip-top condition with these handy tips

Learn how to care for your laptop's battery, how it works, and what you can do to make sure yours last for years and retains its charge. Check out our handy guide for valuable tips, no matter what type of laptop you have.
Computing

Protect your expensive new laptop with the best Macbook cases

If you recently picked up a new MacBook, you’ll want something to protect its gorgeous exterior. Here, we've gathered the best MacBook cases and covers, whether you're looking for style or protection.