The Macalope Weekly: Adaptergate


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[With the Macalope Daily freely available this past week, please enjoy this bonus Macalope Weekly column for your reading pleasure. If you missed any of this week’s columns, you can catch up here.]

What a week it was as Apple and Tim Cook crumbled under the intense pressure and launched the boringest phone ever! Well, we already knew the iPhone 5 was destined to disappoint. Surely a phone so disappointing won’t be copied by Apple’s competitors. Cough.

You know, it’s gotta be hard to be Apple. Some people are whining and complaining because the company didn’t change the phone enough and others are whining and complaining because Apple changed it too much.

Uh, hell-o! Overprivileged Earthlings to Apple: Please change your phone to make it totally new, but make sure you don’t change it so much that it no longer works with all of our peripherals, cases, headphones, adapters, and ironic Etsy hand-knitted sleeves.

Fortunately, Apple execs can work off the stress by rolling around in piles of hundred dollar bills and skeet-shooting Fabergé eggs. So, OK, it’s not that hard being Apple.

But, really, there hasn’t been a whine like this since Apple charged Mac owners $2 for an 802.11n enabler. And you know what it means when people get their collective underwear in a twist, right?

Well, yes, it does mean we should look into why people are wearing collective underwear, because that’s just not hygienic. But it also means it’s “open letter” time!

iLounge brings us “An Open Letter to Tim Cook: Apple’s Latest Lightning Rod.”

Awww, yeah! Your deflectors can’t repel connector-themed puns of this magnitude, Tim Cook!

Now, it turns out that Apple mistakenly put a notice on early Web orders indicating that a 30-pin-dock-connector-to-Lightning adapter was included with the iPhone 5; the mistake was subsequently caught and corrected. The Macalope doesn’t know what Apple is legally required to do to make good on conflicting information (since the “included in the iPhone 5 box” information was correctly noted without the adapter), so he’s not going to argue against iLounge’s contention that the company should give early purchasers an adapter.

It’s iLounge’s adapter-grabbing conclusion he takes exception to:

The right thing for Apple to do is to give every iPhone 5 customer a Lightning to 30-pin Adapter. Ditto for new iPod nano and touch customers.

Uh, no.

Can we all just step back for a moment and appreciate that time is linear in nature and that the ability to use your peripherals in perpetuity is not a God-given right? The Macalope remembers a similar fit was thrown when Apple switched to USB. And dropped SCSI. And switched from FireWire 400 to 800. And…

While a small group of die-hard fans might deem such “generosity” unnecessary, hear us out.

Wait, which is smaller, the group of die-hard fans or the group of third-party peripheral users? As Michael Gartenberg says:

For the record, the change in dock connector is something almost no consumer will care about or affect AAPL in any way.

But to hear some talk of it, Apple is causing undue financial hardship on people who have enough money to throw around that they’ve decided to cover their houses in third-party hardware.

…compatibility is about to be broken or limited with accessories that people have invested hundreds or thousands of dollars to use—speaker systems, video accessories, and who knows what else.

High-definition televisions! BMWs! Diamond-studded space planes! You can cry the Macalope a river over these poor people, who somehow own a ton of hardware and yet have to deal with the unbearable financial stress of shelling out $29 for an adapter or $19 for a new cable.

Mr. Cook, as Apple’s CEO, the decision is yours to make. We think you know what to do, and if you support your hundreds of millions of users, we’ll continue to support you.

Based on the fact that the iPhone is already back-ordered several weeks, the Macalope’s going to go ahead and guess that iLounge’s idle threats are going to fall a little flat on Tim Cook’s ears. But then, what’s an open letter without posturing?

[Editors’ Note: Each week the Macalope skewers the worst of the week’s coverage of Apple and other technology companies. In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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