re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
I happened to come into the Apple mobile device environment right before the last cable change and I thought oh GREAT. This is manipulative. Now that I've been using the same cables through multiple generations of iPhones and iPads over five years, so my grumbling days are over.
Apple puts a lot of thought into things like connections; it's in their DNA to do so. So Mr. Nelson's suggestion that there are form factor and/or technological reasons behind this change makes sense to me. I'm fine with this. I just hope that they know enough to manage this transition a bit. As Mr. Feldman points out, they are no longer the only game in town and perception is critical.
Here's what I'd like to see: First, give us a hint why you're changing the connectionand articulate that you don't plan to do this capriciously every year. Second, sell just the cables. That would allow me to swap out just the cables in my home, office, car, and flight bag while keeping my existing plugs.
Third, make one or more adapters that will sit in the iPod docks of our speaker systems, CD players, camera connectors, etc. and allow us to dock the new phone. Perhaps an adapter with a couple of collars. Want to do something really radical and much appreciated? Include the adapter "for free" with the next round of iPhones, iPods, iPads.
Re third party chargers, batteries, etc., if there is proprietary chip at the port but if there is one, then its functionality won't be new. In the past this has been all about Apple's protecting its "it just works" branding by warning about junker devices that were not up to standard. Belkin products, say, never a problem. Apple should not tigthen this policy and they should make it clear that they are not doing so.
If we want a universal standard port, then let's push for one that would make Mr. Jobs excited. (That's a good Turing test for hardware design, no?) When we get something that passes the "Jobs test" then let's put pressure on every mfr to adopt it. For now I prefer Apple's cables to micro USB, which is just too easy to accidentally disconnect.
Finally a word about upgrades. True that some security patches require firmware changes. True that that can slow down the phone. Apple should avoid it where possible and if that means re-architecting then that would be a good idea if they mean to protect their new position of respect in the enterprise.
On the other hand, smartphones are computers. Computers get slower as they are asked to work with new technology. When that slowness becomes an obstacle to working then upgrade the user and hand down or recycle the old phone. Until that point just say "no" or "on your own nickel".