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Raindrops on roses, Lightning adapters, and whiskers on kittens

Erica Sadun, @ericasadun
April 28, 2014
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I own roughly a billion-and-one old-style iPhone and iPod cables, most of them not strictly "Made for iPhone" (MFi). They have seen hard use over the years, but they've been cheap and easy to replace. In February, I finally made the jump to Lightning when I purchased a refurbished pair of an iPad Air and a latest generation iPod touch. I love my new babies, with their lightness and bright screens (and, in the case of the touch, modern Wi-Fi and a 4" screen that is terrific for iOS development). However, their new cable system has been driving me nuts.

That's because the ease and cheapness of my existing stock of connectors no longer works with the new Lightning-based models. Purchasing extra MFi cables starts at about $14 for an Amazon Basics 3-foot cord.

I tend to use my portable battery packs with tiny 6-inch cables, which make less of a clutter in my backpack. Fortunately, a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across adapters on Amazon that convert Lightning to good old Euro-standard Micro-USB, which I normally use with my Kindle Fire. These adapters cost only about $2 each or less and slide onto the end of the Micro-USB cables, turning them into Lightning cables.

I was pretty wary about these adapters since iOS has become very picky with regards to non-MFI products, and some reviews state they have pretty high fail rates. Regardless, I plopped down my $6 and ordered a set of three, hoping that at least one adapter would pan out. Instead, I was delighted to find that all three worked fine.

I have tested these adapters with a variety of battery packs (from Antec, HyperJuice, and one that my husband picked up at the grocery store of all places...) and found that if the output amperage is sufficient to charge the device, the Lightning adapters work fine. I do caution you to carry a small pillbox or envelope for those times when you need to use the battery pack without the adapter, as they are quite small and easy to lose.

I'm pleased that my portable Lightning needs have been met for the time being with a minimum of cash outlay and a satisfying reliability. Given how widespread complaints have been about Lightning connector failures due to wear and use, I'll be keeping an eye on these adapters over time to see how they last.

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