iPhone charger and everything related to them

iPhone charger

iPhone charger

iPhone charger and everything related to them, before buying a charger or a power cable for your iPhone you must go through this. iPhones come with various accessories. However, the main accessory of them all is the charger because without the charger the iPhone is of no use.

Background

On 29 June 2007, the original iPhone got released. Accompanied by various new features in a phone at that time, Apple also introduced a new charging technology. A 30 pin charging cable that is used to charge the iPhone was introduced.

The cable was built in-house by Apple themselves and they have all the patented rights. However, on 21 September 2012, Apple released another proprietary charger alongside iPhone 5.

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Apple claimed that the charger is superior to the previous 30-pin charger and other available chargers at that time. Apple named it the lightning cable. The cable is very compact, well designed and in it can be inserted into the port in any orientation. Hence, lightning chargers were deal-breaker when it was first introduced. 

Introduction

Unlike their android counterparts or any other phone manufacturers, iPhones use their proprietary charging cables. While most phones charge via micro USB or the new USB type C, iPhones have a different style of charging cables.

Apple calls the charging cables used by iPhones the lightning cables. In basic words, lightning cables are Apple company’s own cable designed by themselves. Lightning cables have 8 pin connectors that are used for charging the phone as well as for data sharing purposes. Before this, iPhones used to charge via a 30 pin cable which is also designed by Apple themselves.

However, with the release of the iPhone 5, they shifted their charging technology from 30 pin cable to lightning cable. 

Difference between 30 pin cable and lightning cable

30 pin cable Lightning cable
These cables have 30 pins each with the specific purpose of receiving and sending the signals and for charging. These cables only have 8 pins each with the specific purpose of receiving and sending the signals and for charging.
It can only be connected to the iPhone in one specific direction. It can be connected to the iPhone in both direction i.e either facing upwards or downwards.
They can only output the maximum charging power of 1.8 amperes They can output the maximum charging power of 2.1 amperes.
iPhone charger

Difference between lightning cable and the micro USB

Lightning cable Micro USB
These cables have 8 pins each with the specific purpose of receiving and sending the signals and for charging. These cables only have 5 pins each with the specific purpose of receiving and sending the signals and for charging.
They are used in iPhones and iPads. They are used in android devices.
It can be connected to the iPhone in both direction i.e either facing upwards or downwards. It can only be connected to the phone in one specific direction.
They can output the maximum charging power of 2.1 amperes. They can only output the maximum charging power of 1.8 amperes.
Their dimension is 6.7 millimeters by width and 1.5 millimeters by height. This means the lightning cable is more compact than Micro USB by a small margin. Their dimension is 6.85 millimeters by width and 1.8 millimeters by height. This means, lightning cable slightly bigger than lightning cable.
Reasons behind Apple using its proprietary cable

There are various reasons for Apple using its proprietary cable in their iPhones as well as iPads. The reasons are for doing so are as follows:

  • According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the cable is adaptive in nature. This means the lightning cable contains an adaptive connection system that only makes the use of necessary signals. 
  • The lightning cable is much more compact than other cables. Furthermore, it can also be inserted in the lightning port in any orientation. That means there is no wrong way of plugging the lightning cable.
  • With the use of lightning cable, Apple can make their product distinctive from any other product in the market. Apple products are always deemed to be more high end and well-made products in the market. Hence, to keep up with that prestige, they like to make their charging port unique than other available options in the market.
  • With the use of its own charger specifically designed for their own product, Apple can cope with the problem of counterfeit chargers. Even though there is still the availability of counterfeit chargers in the market, the amount is significantly less. It is less than what could be if the design was similar to the charging ports that the android devices use. 
  • Also, with the use of their proprietary cable, costumes don’t have many options but to buy from Apple themselves. These tactics, in turn, help Apple make more money.

Advantages of Lightning cable over other charging cables

Whatever reasons might be for Apple to use the lightning cable in iPhones, there sure are certain advantages. Also, Apple in its typical fashion always puts an extra effort into making the use of their products easier. The following are the advantages of using lightning cable over any other charging cables:

  • The lightning cable is very light and compact compared to other types of chargers in the market. Therefore, it is not so bothersome to carry those around.
  • The lightning cable can be inserted in any orientation, either facing up or facing down. Hence, you cannot fail in trying to insert them into the port as it goes inside in both the directions. 
  • They have the maximum power carrying capacity of 12 watts. With such a high capacity for power carriage, it is plenty to charge iPhones in a very short duration. Due to this, charging iPhones via lightning cables are very convenient. 
  • iPhones, as well as iPads, can charge on a single lightning cable. It can also be used to charge other Apple accessories like Air Pods, which is Apple’s wireless earphone accessory. 

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Problems with Apple’s Lightning cable

Apple has made its effort in making its proprietary charging cable superior to other available options. However, they have missed the mark in a lot of areas. This is because there are plenty of flaws in Apple’s lightning cable. The problems of lightning cable are discussed below:

  • If you have used the lightning cables, you may have noticed that they are more fragile than micro USB or USB-c chargers. It is very easy to break the iPhone charger. Some claim that Apple intentionally makes the faulty iPhone chargers. Apple does this so that the iPhone users buy their chargers time and again. This only helps Apple earn more money by selling their chargers.
  • They are significantly more expensive than other android phone chargers. This is because Apple has patented the charger and only Apple has the right to make them. This reduces the market competition hence making them able to charge more for the cables.
  • There is a growing trend of making use of one charger to charge all your electronic devices. For example, USB type C charges android phones. But it can also charge your laptop if it is supported. However, Apple now makes iPad Pros and MacBooks which charge through USB type C but iPhones charge through lightning cable. This makes users unable to charge all of their Apple devices to charge through a single charging cable.
  • USB type C can also connect to external displays and do a lot of things that lightning cable can’t. They are also able to charge in any orientation and are compatible with faster data transferring and charging technology thunderbolt 3. Due to this, the lightning cable is no longer the best charging solution for iPhones. Because better charging cable technologies are now available in the market.
Various chargers used by iPhones over the years

Throughout the time iPhones used two different types of charging technology. First introduced, the 30 pin cable which was proprietary to Apple charges earlier iPhones. While the lightning cables charge the later iPhones. Here is the chart of iPhones and their charging technologies.

iPhones charged via 30 pin cables iPhones charged via lighting cables
iPhone (The original iPhone)
iPhone 3G
iPhone 3GS
iPhone 4
iPhone 4s
iPhone 5
iPhone 5s
iPhone 5c
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
iPhone SE
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
iPhone X
iPhone XS and XS Max
iPhone XR
iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max

Conclusion

To summarize, lightning cable, Apple’s proprietary charging cable is a well-designed charger. And it can charge in any orientation, it is compact and very capable as well as powerful. Nonetheless, it is comparatively fragile and has not been updated for a long time. Similarly, It has not been redesigned since 2012 to be precise.  

All things considered, Apple’s iPhone charger, which is the lightning cable is among the best. However, with the development of even better-charging technology, the bar has been set higher.

The lightning cable with many of its flaws is not up to today’s industry standards. Also, the use of lightning cables disables the people in the Apple ecosystem to adapt to the one cable charges all functionality. Hence, it is time for Apple to change its iPhone charger to the superior technology of charging. 

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