Apple introduced its new 9-pin proprietary dock yesterday, once again skipping out on accepting the micro-USB standard the rest of the smartphone world enjoys, so that they can put the kibosh on 3rd party accessories, and thanks to a proprietary chip, force you to pay out the nose when your charging cable breaks on you. Available as both a direct pin adapter ($29.99), and a dongle style cable ($39.99), it isn’t cheap, either.
To add insult to injury, those that shell out the cash will have a nasty surprise on the other side: iPod direct out and video playback are not supported, so you’re simply dropping up to $40 on a charger.
Supposedly the new lightning connector uses the same pinout configuration as micro USB, but with a proprietary identifier chip inside to prevent unlicensed third party knockoffs from being sold. This falls completely in line with Apple’s desktop strategy, which involves selling Mac users the same parts you find in a PC for as much as twice the price, but with OSX programmed to only recognize the more expensive authorized hardware. CNN money is positively aghast at the situation, and speculates about the number of pissed off customers they’re going to have who drop $100+ on the things to hook up the stereo, the clock radio, and whatnot and discover that no music comes out
Seriously guys. It costs you what (I’ll be generous here, very generous) a buck to make these things? The rumored $27.99 3-pack, you probably would have been able to get away with without too much screaming, so long as the things actually worked with your existing devices. Apple needs to give these customers a lot more, and if that means that you have to build a box that a normal company would charge $29.99 for to take the audio signal from iDevice A to Dock B, so be it, but don’t hand me a piece of plastic that takes your average 20-something two hours of work or more to pay for, and tell me you’re doing us a favor.