Why Didn’t Apple Go With microUSB? Because It Sucks Compared To Lightning (Opinion)
So many people have been taking opportunities to complain about the new dock connector, and in many cases they all have great points. Having to get an adapter for your old accessories might be a burden, and it could be frustrating. The reason Apple went with the new cord is that the old one took up too much room on the device. They just made the device have a bigger screen, reduced its thickness lower than any other model produced before it, increased battery life with a larger battery, made it 2X as fast as the previous model, and made it lighter. Those things don’t often happen at the same time. In fact, they never have before.
In order to do that, they needed to micron-manage their available space. The standard 30-pin connector is too big. Lightning was their answer.
But here’s what I don’t understand: People still think they should have used the microUSB instead. This boggles my mind, because the capabilities of that cord/connector are greatly inferior to the capabilities of Apple’s connector. Think about it… what can that cord actually do? Charge and sync data. That’s it. Seems pretty restricted to me, especially if it was being placed in a device that many of you are trying to use docks with.
Apple may have made the old third-party accessory you have more expensive to keep, but at least they didn’t make it irrelevant. Adopting a microUSB is one of the worst ideas for the iPhone, especially at this time. If that would have happened, instead of the Lightning port, you’d not only have to junk all those old accessories (because no adapter would be able to help you at all), but you also wouldn’t be getting any more docks for it in the future. Why would you make a radio with a microUSB port for the iPhone to dock on? It can’t stream advanced media through it in the same way. Waste of time. The iPhone can’t control anything on the accessory. No point. The two devices wouldn’t be able to work together at all. All you’d get is data transfer, and charging. No video capabilities, no docking functions that you are used to.
Basically, if Apple had chosen microUSB, the port would only be able to charge and sync the device, not transmit video signals or do other advanced functions. Why on Earth would Apple adopt a tech that doesn’t allow what customers already use it for?
“Because everyone is doing it” is one reason I’ve been told from a lot of people. Ironically, these are the very same people that bash the fruit company when they introduce stuff on their product that are similar to what their devices already had before it.
Micro USB has five pins: a power pin, a ground pin, two pins for data, and a sense pin. That’s it. It just doesn’t support all of the features Apple wanted to implement into their connector technology. It doesn’t have the capabilities that iPhone users are already enjoying, some without even knowing it.
On top of that, that larger battery wants juice, and the Lightning port allows far greater performance for charging. The device will charge much faster than your Android counter-parts who use that microUSB. Micro USB connectors can’t push through enough juice to power the iPad at full speed. The slimmer the pipe, the slower the water can flow. Same goes for comparing Lightning to microUSB. Of course, we aren’t talking about the “physical size” of the cord and port, we’re talking about performance limits. How else would a USB not be able to push data as fast as a FireWire cord? As fast as a Thunderbolt cord? The same theory applies to Lightning, and your device will charge much faster as a result.
Can it push enough to power the iPhone. Sure. But not the iPad. A cord needs to be able to power a device while it’s being used at full speed, and Apple wants uniformity in their cords and connections with current generation products. The next iPad will get Lightning as well. This is the first step, and this connector will be here for a long time.
Yes, it would be easier to find a charger in a pinch for the phone, and yes more people have them because they are more common… but that isn’t the point. The point is adopting your own standards to give your customers the best experience possible. Since they couldn’t give you the standard 30-pin connector in this new slimmer design (limited space), they’ve opted to give you a smaller port, with the exact same function, easier usage, greater performance, and most importantly… the ability to adapt to older accessories.
Now before you go off on me in the comments about forgetting this part, Apple is also doing it for the money as well. Think about it: With the Lightning port, they have the ability to maintain control, and third-parties will be needing to license this technology from them if they want to make accessories. This is obvious, but it isn’t the primary reason. Argue that if you’d like, the entire culture of this company isn’t about doing things just to make money. Yes, they need to make it (they are a business… and publicly traded company. Everyone needs to make money), but they are successful because of a loyal following, and because of quality products. That’s the motivation. Making money… yes, that’s happening. They are doing a whole lot of that.
Lightning being a better solution for their customers… that’s the reason they did it. This company has long understood, much like many companies do, that giving customers what they want is the best way of getting them to buy your stuff, and therefore, get money. If they had kept the current connector (which many would have preferred), they wouldn’t have made the phone so thin and light (which some don’t care about). If they had gone to a microUSB… they wouldn’t have given you the iPhone you wanted in the first place.
It’s a simple choice then: Make a smaller connector that still does what they want. That’s Lightning.
Imagine if your iPhone 5 wasn’t able to do something a previous version could do. Something as simple as docking to a radio to play Pandora while the device charges, or playing a video through the connector to another device. Still want the microUSB?
Whine if you want… the Lightning port is a way better option than microUSB, and it always will be. Apple will never adopt that port. You won’t ever see their products adopting a microUSB, and I don’t want them to either.
(Lightning info via Rainer Brockerhoff)