Griffin shows off $30 Lightning cable with reversible USB plug, coming in March

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2015
At CES this week, Griffin Technology took the wraps off a new USB-to-Lightning cable with a twist -- the USB Type A plug can be inserted in either orientation, just like Apple's own Lightning connector.




Griffin's new reversible USB-to-Lightning cable is set to arrive in March for $29.99. Their unveiling follows misplaced hopes that Apple itself would introduce a reversible USB-to-Lightning cable last year, but the company's first-party "iDevice" connectors continue to have standard USB Type A plugs that can only be inserted in one direction.

Griffin's forthcoming Lightning cables with reversible USB plug will be officially licensed Made for iPhone accessories.

It's unclear whether the product will be able to be marketed as an official USB cable, however, as the USB Compliance Committee has not authorized reversible Type A USB plugs. No USB consortium logos were visible with the product on the show floor on Wednesday.

Also at CES this week, Griffin announced a new, redesigned version of its Twenty digital audio amplifier. The new $149.99 Twenty connects to speakers and streams music from any handheld Bluetooth-enabled device, such as an iPhone.




Pushing out 20 watts per channel, the Griffin Twenty provides volume through nonpowered speakers with high-end AAC/aptX audio streaming digital codecs. It also connects direct plug-in connections from a computer, tuner, home theater, turntable, or other audio source.

Bundles of the Twenty with speakers are also available: Twenty + NHT SuperZero Passive Bookshelf Speakers for $299.99, or Twenty + NHT SuperZero 2.1 Super Stereo System with Powered Subwoofer for $599.99.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member

    Why wouldn't Apple want to offer such a cable? That just looks like they're leaving money on the table to me.

  • Reply 2 of 25
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

     

    Why wouldn't Apple want to offer such a cable? That just looks like they're leaving money on the table to me.




    As it says, they're not authorized by the USB standard yet.

  • Reply 3 of 25
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    Why wouldn't Apple want to offer such a cable? That just looks like they're leaving money on the table to me.

    It doesn't look very durable to me. In fact, one of the shortcomings of the wonderful Lightning cable is that they don't seem to last as long as the old 30-pin iPod Dock Connector cables with their less sophisticated pins.


    As it says, they're not authorized by the USB standard yet.

    Doesn't Apple already go beyond the USB-IF in their implementation of USB?
  • Reply 4 of 25
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    It doesn't look very durable to me. In fact, one of the shortcomings of the wonderful Lightning cable is that they don't seem to last as long as the old 30-pin iPod Dock Connector cables with their less sophisticated pins.

    Doesn't Apple already go beyond the USB-IF in their implementation of USB?

     

    I don't think so, and if they do it's surely not that far.

     

    I haven't had an issue with a Lightning cable yet, people seem to thrash them quickly though. I think with the smaller plug people just tug on the cable, and then the entire thing wears out.

  • Reply 5 of 25
    nobodyynobodyy Posts: 377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

     

    I don't think so, and if they do it's surely not that far.

     

    I haven't had an issue with a Lightning cable yet, people seem to thrash them quickly though. I think with the smaller plug people just tug on the cable, and then the entire thing wears out.




    This has got to be how mine have worn out.

    Ever since the first iPhone, in fact, when they shortened the 30-pin and removed the lock tabs, I've been pulling from the cord which, along with a shit ton of twisting and turning, slowly wears that particular spot. Prior to that specific cord, I had never had a failed cable. 

     

     

    Anyway, remember when people were saying that this was impossible :P

  • Reply 6 of 25
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    I don't think so, and if they do it's surely not that far.

    I haven't had an issue with a Lightning cable yet, people seem to thrash them quickly though. I think with the smaller plug people just tug on the cable, and then the entire thing wears out.

    I thought they did double the power certified by USB 2.0 when the iPad was plugged into a Mac.
  • Reply 7 of 25
    nobodyynobodyy Posts: 377member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    I thought they did double the power certified by USB 2.0 when the iPad was plugged into a Mac.



    Interesting, I looked up some details on it and found this. I wasn't aware of it prior.

  • Reply 8 of 25
    hillstoneshillstones Posts: 1,490member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    In fact, one of the shortcomings of the wonderful Lightning cable is that they don't seem to last as long as the old 30-pin iPod Dock Connector cables with their less sophisticated pins.

    I have lightning cables that came with the iPhone 5 and they continue to work perfectly.  Handle the cables properly, and they don't break or fail.  Every electrical cable has the same disclaimer: pull from the plug, not from the cord/wire.  Most people blame cable failure from their own negligence of yanking on the cable.

  • Reply 9 of 25
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    hillstones wrote: »
    I have lightning cables that came with the iPhone 5 and they continue to work perfectly.  Handle the cables properly, and they don't break or fail.  Every electrical cable has the same disclaimer: pull from the plug, not from the cord/wire.  Most people blame cable failure from their own negligence of yanking on the cable.

    I just took my first one in to be replaced by Apple under my iPhone warranty. The connector didn't reliably work on one side when connected and the sheathing had cracked and ripped on the about 30% in on the Lightning side. This is one I keep in my car's USB port. I certainly wouldn't say I abused it, but it needed replacing.
  • Reply 10 of 25

    When did recharging a device turn into such a complicated operation? For $5 more, you can get a wireless charger that has an even easier to use interface.

  • Reply 11 of 25
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hillstones View Post

     

    I have lightning cables that came with the iPhone 5 and they continue to work perfectly.  Handle the cables properly, and they don't break or fail.  Every electrical cable has the same disclaimer: pull from the plug, not from the cord/wire.  Most people blame cable failure from their own negligence of yanking on the cable.


     

    I have $3 micro-usb cables from Monoprice that can take the yanks just fine. They consistently outlast the $20 Lightning cables in our house, so I've started replacing them with the $12 version that lasts longer.

     

    For $20 design a freaking 36 inch cable that doesn't have to be glad-handed to last more than six months.

  • Reply 12 of 25
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,311member
    I don't think so, and if they do it's surely not that far.

    I haven't had an issue with a Lightning cable yet, people seem to thrash them quickly though. I think with the smaller plug people just tug on the cable, and then the entire thing wears out.

    Pretty sure the USB-IF doesn't sanction Apple's use of more than 500mA on USB 2 sockets. USB 3 supports up to 1.5A (whilst disabling data transmission), whereas USB 3.1 supports 3A via its USB-C connector, though I think data transfer is still disabled. Presumably Apple doesn't support reversible USB A connectors because they're pretty flimsy and don't make a particularly good connection, which is especially important with the extra pins jammed into the USB 3 type A connector.
    I have $3 micro-usb cables from Monoprice that can take the yanks just fine. They consistently outlast the $20 Lightning cables in our house, so I've started replacing them with the $12 version that lasts longer.

    For $20 design a freaking 36 inch cable that doesn't have to be glad-handed to last more than six months.

    I've posted this many-a-time before; it's the crap PVC-free plastic championed by Greenpeace that causes Apple's Lightning cables to fail: the sheath is foamed hard plastic, which eventually breaks since the bubbles eventually rupture. PVC is flexible, and therefore obviously lasts much longer. If you've ever had one of those blow-moulded boxes with the plastic hinges, I'm sure you'd have experienced the hinges breaking after 20 or 30 open/close cycles. It's the same non-flexible plastic used there, but that's not exactly a "premium" item.

    I've got sick of getting my cables replaced (and driving 15 miles to the Apple Store and back each time, damaging the environment 100 times more than some PVC cable), so I just bought some MFi certified ones from eBay. They look as good as the day they were made, 6 months on. I've got some ancient 30-pin connectors too with the squeeze to release sides which came with my iPod mini, they're PVC and they're still in perfect condition.

    Edit: seems currents of up to 5 amps are allowed on USB sockets, though Apple's 2 amps is the most I've seen. The article is vague though, saying 5 amps is allowable on "charging" sockets. Does that include computer-based USB sockets or power brick based ones...
  • Reply 13 of 25
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    I have $3 micro-usb cables from Monoprice that can take the yanks just fine. They consistently outlast the $20 Lightning cables in our house, so I've started replacing them with the $12 version that lasts longer.

    For $20 design a freaking 36 inch cable that doesn't have to be glad-handed to last more than six months.

    Micro-USB? LOL In my experience Micro-USB is one of the most likely connector types to be bent from forcible insertion the wrong way. How often do you think people are inserting Lightning the wrong way?
  • Reply 14 of 25
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    Micro-USB? LOL In my experience Micro-USB is one of the most likely connector types to be bent from forcible insertion the wrong way. How often do you think people are inserting Lightning the wrong way?

     

    Well, yeah, Lightning is a much better design, just a shitty implementation, as Elijahg pointed out above.

     

    I've got a family of five demonstrating that $3 micro-USB cables far outlast $20 Lightning cables with hundreds or thousands (?) of insertions on each. Even with a few dozen upside-down attempts on the USB cables. Cumbersome, but much more durable.

  • Reply 15 of 25
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

     

    Why wouldn't Apple want to offer such a cable? That just looks like they're leaving money on the table to me.




    Couple reasons. 1 being its not an approved standard, more of a hack for USB type A. 2. I bet we see them start moving to USB type C on their machines instead.

  • Reply 16 of 25
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post

     

     

    I have $3 micro-usb cables from Monoprice that can take the yanks just fine. They consistently outlast the $20 Lightning cables in our house, so I've started replacing them with the $12 version that lasts longer.

     

    For $20 design a freaking 36 inch cable that doesn't have to be glad-handed to last more than six months.




    Micro USB is the worst connector in the world. Maybe Mini USB and Micro can battle it out for worst. They are absolute trash.

  • Reply 17 of 25
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pmz View Post

     



    Micro USB is the worst connector in the world. Maybe Mini USB and Micro can battle it out for worst. They are absolute trash.


     

    Ok...

     

    Devices get charged, and I'm not spending money replacing them. Absolutely horrible.

  • Reply 18 of 25
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post

     

    Well, yeah, Lightning is a much better design, just a shitty implementation, as Elijahg pointed out above.


     

    and yet, i too have original lightning cables -- if it's composition why havent they failed?

  • Reply 19 of 25
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post

     

     

    and yet, i too have original lightning cables -- if it's composition why havent they failed?


     

    Because you glad-hand them. Lightning cable durability is a common problem. It's great that you take the time to baby your equipment. I don't, my family doesn't, and we have little use for equipment that can't take it. iPhones, iPads, and iPods in our house are wonderfully durable, just not their cables.

     

    "the Lightning cable introduced alongside the iPhone 5 in 2012 has proved one of the least forgiving accessories I’ve ever needed to use, and that’s despite Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller touting Lightning’s “improved durability” when he introduced it."

     

    http://************/2014/08/22/opinion-its-time-for-apple-to-deliver-on-its-lightning-cables-improved-durability/

  • Reply 20 of 25
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,311member
    Because you glad-hand them. Lightning cable durability is a common problem. It's great that you take the time to baby your equipment. I don't, my family doesn't, and we have little use for equipment that can't take it. iPhones, iPads, and iPods in our house are wonderfully durable, just not their cables.

    "the [URL=http:/2012/09/12/apple-unveils-lightning-connector-and-cables-as-expected/]Lightning cable introduced alongside the iPhone 5 in 2012[/URL] has proved one of the least forgiving accessories I’ve ever needed to use, and that’s despite Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller touting Lightning’s “improved durability” when he introduced it."

    [URL=http:/2014/08/22/opinion-its-time-for-apple-to-deliver-on-its-lightning-cables-improved-durability/]http://************/2014/08/22/opinion-its-time-for-apple-to-deliver-on-its-lightning-cables-improved-durability/[/URL]

    The connector itself is really tough, 100 times better than Micro and Mini USB. It's solely the cable that's the issue. Any amount of strain more than a few times at the connector (which will happen if you use it when it's plugged in) and it'll split. I've used a lightning cable with just the metal shielding remaining for a while, it lasted longer than the damn plastic. If it's the way I/we handle the cables, why are the original PVC cables from 2005 still fine? Why does literally no other cable from other manufacturers get this issue?
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