When working in an office, one can nary go a week without
hearing the mating call of the iPhone user: "Hey, does anyone have
a spare iPhone charger? Uh, no, the other one. The smaller one."
Because of its stubborn refusal to switch to the more universal
micro-USB format -- the likes of which are standard on
) devices --
) continues to make the lives of drained iPhone users hellish and
costly. For the privilege of using an Apple-certified cable and
power adapter (sold separately, of course), iPhone users will pay
an exorbitant and inexcusable $38, plus tax and shipping, just to
charge their phones. (Multiple times, in fact, if they were users
before and after the
change to the Lightning dock connector
, which rendered 30-pin dock connectors obsolete.)
Comparatively, an Android or Windows Phone user can fork over a
couple bucks for a spare micro-USB charger, if they're not already
tripping over them on their way to their junk drawer.
So it's no wonder many iPhone users have turned to the vastly
cheaper third-party charging cables and adapters to power up their
devices -- which, on average, still run about two or three times as
much as a certified micro-USB charger. Unfortunately, many users
have found that upon upgrading to iOS 7, their trusty third-party
cables no longer work.
All thanks to yet another Apple money grub.
First seen in the developer preview of iOS 7, an onscreen message
reads, "This cable or accessory is not certified and may not work
reliably with this iPhone," when a third-party charger is
connected. In the development stages, the pop-up served only as a
toothless warning and iOS 7 still allowed the device to charge.
However, since iOS 7 was made public, many are now discovering that
they're the proud owners of a $16 piece of string.
The move comes soon after an incident in August wherein a
23-year-old woman was electrocuted when she answered her iPhone 5
while it was still charging. But because she was using a
third-party charging cable that wasn't certified by Apple,
Cupertino was given all the evidence it needed to be "wary" and
"cautious" about third-party accessories, even if they worked
safely and flawlessly for the wide majority of users up until that
In response, Apple then graciously launched a
which supplied users official and Apple-certified power adapters
(the kind that regularly gets
for its unreliability) if they traded in their third-party
equipment. And it would only cost them $10...on top of the $19
cable that wasn't included in the program. Making matters worse, as
freelance writer Diane Bullock
, the company's official power adapter that sells for $19 only
costs $1.36 to produce, possibly less.
But the recent incompatibility with iOS 7 is the cherry atop this
mess. It has absolutely nothing to do with unreliability or a fault
with the equipment. It's simply because some third-party
accessories don't have a special authenticator chip in the USB port
that tells the iPhone, don't worry, Apple approved of this cable.
It's all in the software.
So what are iPhone 5, 5S, and 5C users to do? There is one
workaround that some folks have found success with:
- Turn on USB power.
- Plug in lightning cable to iPhone.
- Dismiss any warnings.
- Unlock your iPhone.
- Dismiss any remaining warnings.
- Now with the screen turned on, unplug the knock off lightning
- Plug it back in.
- Dismiss warning again.
Your phone should now charge.
But considering users will have to do this
they want to charge their phones, they might consider that $38
worth the cost of convenience.
It really is shameless and disheartening that Apple has gone to
these lengths to sell iPhone users its own overpriced accessories.
The company should realize it's only a matter of time before an
industrious third-party manufacturer learns how to bypass this
safeguard to deliver yet another reliable and cost-effective iPhone
charger that users can actually afford.
Actually, it probably does. And it'll block those, too.
And the money-grubbing cycle continues.
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Disclosure: Minyanville Studios, a division of Minyanville
Media, has a business relationship with BlackBerry.