I've had it with Apple. This time they've gone too far

14 Sep 2012

Not being able to add extra memory via an SD card was an inconvenience. But certainly led to more sales of iPods and Nanos. Not being able to switch out the battery on the MacBook Pros (from three years ago) and the phones from the start was annoying and expensive.

But backing off on its commitment last year to support the micro-USB standard for chargers is woefully irresponsible. As we all know now, the company has developed a proprietary 8-pin connector it calls Lightning for the iPhone 5.

The question is why? Not for the speed. The new connector is based on USB 2.0, so any speed gains will be modest compared to the old 30-pin version. It's doubly puzzling when its new notebooks now support USB 3.0. And the size is about the same as micro-USB, so no real space savings there.

Cnet's Molly Wood yesterday summed up the industry's disappointment: "As the rest of the tech industry moves to a standard micro-USB charging format, Apple's decision is unwelcome in a time of smaller budgets for most shoppers and it's ecologically irresponsible, to boot."

Citing GSMA stats, she reported that the mobile phone industry produces between 51,000 and 82,000 tons of replacement chargers a year. The standard charger could reduce the wireless industry's carbon footprint by 13.6 million tons a year.

Apple has already backtracked by introducing an adapter, which currently is only available in Europe for $29, in a move to avoid the wrath of the European Commission's requirement that all smartphones must use the universal connector.

While it may calm the regulator, it won't eliminate the need for new iPhones to be packed with a charger, so zero positive impact on the environment. Surely, an opportunity missed for Apple to show a bit of leadership. Shame, shame.

And don't get me started on its lawsuit in Poland against a grocery store called a.pl (pl is the domain extension for Poland). See how "similar" its apple logo is to the Cupertino giant's!

After its victory in court against Samsung and the continued cult following over its phone launches, the company is the playground bully looking to pick a fight with anyone who dares step on its turf.

Certainly ironic, as the Economist reminded us last week, that Steve Jobs said in a 1996 TV documentary, "We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas."

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