Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Bundled Lightning Cables Are Still USB-A Models

In my confused coverage of the definitely not new “Ultra Accessory Connector” that appeared on the confidential MFi partner site earlier today, I wrote:

Amidst the migration of Mac peripherals to USB-C, and the replacement of wired headphones with wireless models, I’m a little confused about how this fits into the bigger picture.

The short answer is that the UAC connector just another option for accessory makers, in addition to USB-A, USB-C, and Lightning. I don’t know how many manufacturers will end up using it over other connector options, but there’s one company I’m surprised hasn’t made the commitment towards a newer connector: Apple. Every new iPhone and iPad is sold with a USB-A to Lightning cable, which means they can’t be connected to a new Mac without an adaptor.

Even Apple’s latest and greatest accessories come with a USB-A Lightning cable. Jack Slater:

The AirPods charging case uses a USB-A to Lightning adapter. It’s kind of odd that for $159 you don’t get an AC adapter, although you do get the cable in the box.

To be fair, I suppose the AirPods and iOS devices aren’t explicitly designed as Mac accessories, though I expect a lot of people will use their Mac to charge those products.

So what about products that are explicitly designed as Mac accessories? All three of Apple’s Magic accessories are also bundled with — you guessed it — USB-A-to-Lightning cables. I just called my local Apple Store and they told me that there’s no way to simply swap the bundled cables; a USB-C Lightning cable would be a separate purchase.

I don’t think it’s odd that an AC adaptor isn’t included with a set of AirPods. I do think it’s wrong that you don’t get a USB-C-to-Lightning cable in the box for any of these products, especially since Apple has now sold millions of units of the MacBook and new MacBook Pro. iPods used to include FireWire and USB cables so you could pick what you wanted to use; why not do the same for USB-C? It would cut into the margins for each of these products, but I think it would send a strong message that Apple is truly committed to it as the connector of the future.