How crappy is the charging port design?

jollyreaper

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 25, 2011
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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?
 

Calidude

macrumors 68000
Jun 22, 2010
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It really sucks, but we'll never get something universal like Mini USB.

We'll probably get something like MagSafe for iPhone someday though.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,899
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Washington DC
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?

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.
 

jollyreaper

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 25, 2011
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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.
 

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.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,899
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Washington DC
What cool things can be done with the charger port that can't be accomplished with a mini-usb port?
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:
http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC748ZM/A

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.
 

jollyreaper

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Original poster
Oct 25, 2011
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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.
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.
 

stevelam

macrumors 65816
Nov 4, 2010
1,215
3
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.
 

Frenchjay

macrumors 68000
Jul 6, 2010
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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.
 

Gav2k

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Jul 24, 2009
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http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MD099?mco=MjU5MjAwODM

As do your issue have u cleaned the port?
 

Primejimbo

macrumors 68040
Aug 10, 2008
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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.
 

jollyreaper

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 25, 2011
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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)

http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MD099?mco=MjU5MjAwODM

As do your issue have u cleaned the port?
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.

----------

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.
How is mini-usb limiting? Power and data on the same cord, same as the iphone.
 

3bs

macrumors 603
May 20, 2011
5,426
19
Dublin, Ireland
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.
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.
 

scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,627
342
What cool things can be done with the charger port that can't be accomplished with a mini-usb port?
- 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.
 
Last edited:

Gav2k

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Jul 24, 2009
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jollyreaper said:
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)

http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MD099?mco=MjU5MjAwODM

As do your issue have u cleaned the port?
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.

----------

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.
How is mini-usb limiting? Power and data on the same cord, same as the iphone.
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
Video
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!
 

jollyreaper

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 25, 2011
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0
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.
 

BriChi

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2006
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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?
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
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,113
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5045 feet above sea level
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.
Yes

There is nothing wrong with the 30pin and it won't change.
 

verwon

macrumors 68030
Jul 26, 2011
2,676
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Seattle
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.
 

jollyreaper

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 25, 2011
149
0
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
Ah. My car is not so advanced so I have a line-in and cigarette character I use instead. Two plugs in the phone.
 

rjohnstone

macrumors 68040
Dec 28, 2007
3,494
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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.
 

stevelam

macrumors 65816
Nov 4, 2010
1,215
3
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.
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.
 

fs454

macrumors 68000
Dec 7, 2007
1,661
1,138
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.
 

ecwhite4S

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Dec 17, 2011
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Only thing I don't like about the port is how it gets dirty.