A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Lightning strikes Apple!

With the new IPhone 5 Apple has aptly named it’s new port Lightning. It may well be the zap that damages the main branch of the Apple tree of products. Lets look back a few years to another example of a major change in ports, and how it was handled.

PS2 keyboard/mouse to USBadapters

USB to PS2 adapter

If you were using a computer during the mid 1990s you remember having a few of these adapters. They allowed for the immediate switch in keyboard and mouse production from PS2 to USB, while still supporting the millions of machines that had the older ports. Also it meant your old keyboard and mouse were usable with your new machine, giving you spares, or allowing you to stretch your budget. The key point is that there was no wholesale abandonment of existing hardware. Apple still hasn’t determined what will or will not work with their adapter from the old 30 pin port to the new Lightning  port. Even more telling none of the aftermarket suppliers have had sufficient access to the specifications to develop one either. Apple has maintained a digital lock down on the specifications, meaning millions of consumers have a choice, dump their old phone and accessories or simply say I don’t need this, and stay with their existing phone and related accessories until Apple does the right thing. Apple likes to portray itself as a green company, yet is willing to see you throw all your suddenly obsolete hardware into the landfill, to help drive sales. Remember when Apple licensed other companies to make clones of its computer, then cancelled those licenses a few years later. Apple has a small window to fix this misstep, for if consumers don’t deliver higher sales than the previous version, the damage will be done. Many people I have spoken to, are saying no to the new IPhone, not because they want to switch to another system, but because they feel betrayed by the port switch.

The over whelming number of reports have the new IPhone 5 as a nice improvement, but not revolutionary. Adding LTE and larger screens to catch up with Android is just that playing catch up. Having Microsoft and Nokia barging in with a single kernel across phone, tablet and computers, chops off the limb of everything works together Apple used to claim. Windows 8 phone has features that are drawing programmers back, as the thought of a single kernel across all platforms makes it easier to write apps useable anywhere.

Lightning has struck Apple, now the wait to see how much damage has been done. Perhaps Apple has lost that green and growing attitude, and is now ready to be chopped down, soon no longer to be the biggest tree in the forest of the net.

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