How crappy is the charging port design?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by jollyreaper, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. jollyreaper macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2011
    My experience with electronic gadgets and doodads extends back years and of i-products I've had a touch and now an iphone.

    I've never seen a crappier charging port design than the iphone. Nothing seems bad about it at first, just the annoyance of having a stupid proprietary connector that isn't compatible with anything else I already own. Pisses me off but is no different from any of my other cell phones. They all had the pointy kind of connector that's not much different from a headphone jack so were incredibly durable. I had a blackberry at a previous job and was very happy with the mini-usb connector. Never had one of those fail. And as far as plugs go I've only ever seen one headphone jack fail between all the computers and media players I've used.

    But these damn mac cables! Ugh. It looks like what happens is these things are too wide and provide too much leverage for failure. I've got a couple of spare cables I bought from Amazon so that I can have a cord at work, one for the car, one for the gizmo shelf at home, one at the computer for the rare occasions I plug in there. I'll get these ridiculous compatibility errors where cables will stop working. I don't know if it's just cheap chinese knockoffs or if there's bugs with Apple's compatibility checking routines. Knockoffs usually work with most other devices. A character that runs you $25 from the store can be had online for $4 and they work just as well. Your $19.99 printer cable is usually a big box store scam and planning ahead and buying online saves you bucks.

    Right now I'm having intermittent charging problems between cheapie cables and the official mac cables. Twisting the phone this way and that will cause the connection to drop and the phone will chirp every time the status changes. I don't see any dirt or dust in there. I'm wondering if it got leveraged at some point and something may have bent slightly. I've never ever had any problem like this with mini-usb connections, they're rock solid. I hear the industry is supposed to be standardizing on micro-usb for all portable devices in the future. Hopefully this will also include Apple?
  2. Calidude macrumors 68000


    Jun 22, 2010
    It really sucks, but we'll never get something universal like Mini USB.

    We'll probably get something like MagSafe for iPhone someday though.
  3. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC

    Why hopefully?

    Ok, I mean, I get why, you said you want cheap cables. But is the loss of functionality worth that?

    I think I'd rather spend a few extra bucks on a better cable than lose out on some of the cool things 3rd-party companies have been able to do with the iPhone's port.
  4. jollyreaper thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2011
    What cool things can be done with the charger port that can't be accomplished with a mini-usb port?

    And it's not just cheap cables, it's cheap and DURABLE cables/ports.
  5. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
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    Apple has met this standard with a 30pin to micro USB adaptor a few months back.

    Tbh op I don't see your issue. The 30 pin connector offers a lot more than just charging and syncing.
  6. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Analog audio and video output.

    Having only USB on the iPhone would require many 3rd party accessories to have a digital-to-analog converter and a power source.

    But the iPhone can do that with a cable alone. That's a feature. I don't know that I'd enjoy losing it. Not everyone has an Apple TV to stream to.

    See here:

    Now, I agree that's another overpriced Apple product, but it's just an example. 3rd party makers have the ability to use that function too, and not just in a cable but in other docks and devices...things that would ALL be made more expensive if they were forced to interface with USB only.
  7. jollyreaper thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2011
    I don't know about this adapter you speak of.

    As for the iphone port, my problem is the damn thing doesn't work right. Every time I touch the phone when it's plugged in I keep losing connection and have to jiggle it until it wants to start charging again. I don't know if the problem is in the cable or the phone jack. I hope the cable because the jack's more expensive to fix.
  8. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    all i know is plugged into my laptop, my iphone 4s charges about 5x faster than my samsung galaxy s2 which uses micro-usb. i've gotten tons of cheap cables from dealextreme and use them with no issues at all for the past several years on my various iphones i've owned.
  9. Frenchjay macrumors 68000


    Jul 6, 2010
    One of the good points about the 30 pin is that it can be used to bypass the IPhones audio dac which brings better audio results when you play through a dock or a LOD cable. I don't know how that could be implemented if Apple had a standard mini USB port but i would not want to loose that.

    It won't change any time soon wither with a ton of accessories and docks out there that support the 30 design.
  10. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    As do your issue have u cleaned the port?
  11. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

    Aug 10, 2008
    I actually like the cord a lot. We have 2 iPhones, 1 iPod Touch, and 4 other iPods around too. I just swap cords between them and no issues. The mini USB is too limited for iPhones.
  12. jollyreaper thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2011
    Yeah, I blew on it a whole bunch just like a NES cart. I use the commuter case so the flap is closed over it when in use, lots of protection.


    How is mini-usb limiting? Power and data on the same cord, same as the iphone.
  13. 3bs macrumors 603


    May 20, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    Yeah I love how fast it charges and I'm not bothered that it's not micro USB. I actually kinda like the current port and adapter.
  14. scaredpoet, Jan 4, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012

    scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    - Audio Line-Out (Analog)
    - DVI Digital Video
    - VGA Analog Video
    - HDMI Digital Audio/Video output

    Basically, the dock connector merges power, data, and Analog and digital media outputs into one port. If you go with just a straight USB connector, you either lose some of that functionality or end up having to add another connector to make up for the loss in functionality.

    But given how ubiquitous iDevices have become, it's not THAT hard to find cables. It's possible to find iPod/iPhone dock connector-compatible charges at walgreens these days.

    As far as reliability, I still have the connector cable I've been using since my first iPod back in 2004, among multiple others. They've never given me problems.
  15. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Op I think your missing a lot here.

    Micro USB gives you power and data

    30pin gives you audio in and out (bypassing internal)
    Power in/out
    Data in/out
    FireWire data/power depending on device

    Pin 21 is the smart one. Depending on the resistance applied to this pin it lets the device know what dock it's plugged into disabling other pins etc or recommending airplane mode etc.

    a micro USB port does not offer this!
  16. jollyreaper thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2011
    Do people use any of those other functions? I can't think of a time I've ever had a need for it. I guess if you bring your media on your phone to someone's place and want to view it? Usually if I'm bringing media anywhere it's going on my keychain USB stick and I just play it on their media PC.

    The only special thing I'd ever seen is the charge/dock/speakers people use when in an office.
  17. WeegieMac Guest


    Jan 29, 2008
    Glasgow, UK
    I've always found Micro USB to be awfully flimsy. I like the "secure" feel of the 30 pin connector.
  18. BriChi macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2006
    yup, use it all the time, I have movies on my iPhone, as soon as I get in either of my 2 cars, I simply plug the 30 pin cable right in which charges the phone, plays the music through my stereo and plays the movies through my back tvs for my kids to watch. Pretty friggin cool if you ask me
  19. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level

    There is nothing wrong with the 30pin and it won't change.
  20. verwon macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2011
    Let's see, my Palm Pre and HTC Evo both used micro USB, both of which failed in less than a year.

    My iPad 2 and iPhone 4S are just fine.
  21. jollyreaper thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2011
    Ah. My car is not so advanced so I have a line-in and cigarette character I use instead. Two plugs in the phone.
  22. rjohnstone macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2007
    PHX, AZ.
    My problem has never been with the 30 pin connector, it's the cables.
    I've gone through at least a half a dozen genuine Apple cables in the last year.
    They're not very durable. Repeated use causes the outer covering to separate at the connector and then you start getting connection issues.
    The only solution to this is to buy a bulky car dock, which I think looks hideous.
  23. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    all of the time. my iphone is also my main car navigation device. the port allows me to charge and send line audio to my car stereo system all in one.
  24. fs454 macrumors 68000

    Dec 7, 2007
    Los Angeles / Boston
    And seriously, the iPod is the most iconic media device in the world. The 30 pin dock connector has been around long enough to be acceptable. It's incredibly multifunctional (can go out via HDMI or even analog composite/component for SD/HD video out!) and very common.

    There's never been a situation where i'm somewhere and asking "...does anyone have an iPod/iPhone cable I can use real quick?" hasn't produced a cable from someone's bag or desk drawer. They're everywhere, they push more power and more features through an admittedly wider plug.

    They aren't going anywhere until an Apple device becomes thinner than that port.
  25. ecwhite4S macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A406 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Only thing I don't like about the port is how it gets dirty.

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