I’ve never been a fan of Apple products. They are over-priced and use proprietary parts and accessories. Yes their products are high quality. In the case of a phone or computer I figure the Apple brand is going to last the same amount of time as the non-Apple brand. So in that case I’d rather spend the money on getting more features (and be able to use third-party after-market parts and accessories). I have never owned a Mac, iPad, iPhone or even iPod (well, I did own an iPod touch for a couple days). I refuse to use iTunes, even though there are times I can get a song or entire album for free (and legally). I simply want to be able to download the song/album from a website without having to install special software (and all the bloatware/baggage associated with it such as QuickTime and Bonjour). I came across this article on C|Net: Why I’m done buying cheap Lightning cables, which gives me yet another reason I so dislike Apple products.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve championed cheap cables. Fifty bucks for six feet of HDMI cord?! Don’t be silly; the $5 jobs are just as good. Same goes for optical, Ethernet, Micro-USB — you name it.
But Lightning cables? That’s another story. Apple charges $19 and $29 for 3- and 6-foot versions, which is just plain ridiculous. Hit up Amazon or Ebay and you’ll find five-packs selling for $6.99 out the door. That kind of discrepancy means this is just another case of the “Apple tax,” right?
I have yet to have a micro-USB cable fail on me and I am not exactly gentle with them either. It is not like I abuse the cables, they just get handled a lot. For instances, the cable I use in my home office for my phone. I am unplugging/plugging the cable into/from the phone a several times a day and still works fine for the past year or so. Of course it is the cable that came with my Samsung Galaxy S4. However, it looks and feels like any other micro-USB cable. I also use micro-USB cables without any issues to charge my Nexus 7 tablet and even to charge a handheld Uniden scanner radio. The only time I’ve had to go out and buy a micro-USB cable was because I needed another (not to replace) cable. I needed one for a car charger after the first one failed (the charger itself not the hardwired micro-USB cable) and another one to keep in my backpack so if needed I could charge my phone other USB with my laptop while at school.
A buddy of mine recently had issues with his Samsung Galaxy 3 not charging. He initially thought it was the micro-USB cable, until he tried a couple others without luck. Turns out the problem was with the charging port on his Galaxy 3 phone itself. So, why the high failure rate with cheap Lightning Cables? The conspiracy theory seems to be it is Apple’s way of making sure you only buy their (over-priced) branded cables. It almost seems as if Apple has created a legal monopoly on Lightning Cables:
What’s going on here? It’s hard to say, because I’ve used countless dirt-cheap Micro-USB cables over the years and can’t recall one of them ever going bad. When iOS 7 debuted last year, there were reports that some so-called knockoff Lightning cables suddenly stopped working — suggesting Apple is working to prevent the cheap cables from, well, working.
Indeed, if you shop around, you’ll noticed that the more expensive Lightning cables are designated “MFi certified.” This refers to Apple’s licensing program, which requires developers and product makers to pay fees for that designation — and pass that expense along to buyers.
Since I have never used a Lightning cable (Apple or otherwise) I can’t really judge the validity of the article author’s claim about non-Apple branded Lightning cables. As far as other (HDMI and Ethernet) ‘cheap’ cables go, they have worked just as well as the higher priced brand name (Monster) cables. Any Lighting cable users out there that care to share your experiences using these cables (either Apple or non-Apple branded? I am rather curious if the Apple branded Lightning cables end up failing and if so when?