What is Lightning?
Apple’s Lightning connector is the replacement for the old 30-pin connector design found on all older iOS products. The Lightning connector is used for charging as well as managing content between devices, effectively serving the same purpose as a USB cable on other devices.
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Lightning connectors are touted as much sturdier than the 30-pin design at just 20 percent of the size, and is also reversible to allow connection to the phone when inserted facing either direction. The Lightning connector design allows Apple to design thinner, sleeker devices with its streamlined form factor as well as establish a proprietary standard for aftermarket accessories, read more at: http://www.iinet.net.au/phone/mobile-phones/handsets/iphone-5s/
3rd Party Limitations
Another reason why common accessories often will not function with the newest iOS products is Apple’s attempt to curtail usage of 3rd party accessories with its products. In many cases, a non-Apple-branded accessory inserted into a current generation iOS device will yield an incompatibility message and the iPhone will reject the accessory. Apple presents this measure as a method of consumer protection, preventing use of potentially harmful 3rd party accessories that could void their warranty of a device.
To address the concerns of those who would inevitably be affected by the switch, Apple also designed a solution for those seeking to use older official Apple accessories with their products. Available in Apple’s online store, these 30-pin to Lightning adapters enable use of older iOS accessories with the newest devices. Although the bulk of the adapter may change how the device fits into cases and stands, the ability to get more use out of existing peripherals is something that many iPhone users can appreciate.
Apple’s move from the 30-pin connector standard to its new Lightning connector setup delivered some improvements in functionality, but left many veteran iOS devotees scrambling for compatible accessories for their newest products. The company’s shunning of 3rd party additions also dealt a blow to the accessory collection of the typical long time iOS user. Fortunately, there are a number of solutions available to help these users retain as many of their chosen accessories as possible.
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