Apple’s worst product? We have a nominee

“Shoddily made.”

“Complete disgrace.”

“I hate this thing with a passion of 100 suns.”

“Who knew an iPhone cable could engender this much animosity?” Sam Grobart reports for Businessweek. “Well, it would appear that Apple’s ‘Lightning to USB Cable (1 m)’ can.”

“Sold as a $19 accessory, it is the same cable that ships with new iPhone 5S and 5C models, and boy, do people hate the dickens out of this thing,” Grobart reports. “Of all the products Apple makes, it is far and away the worst-reviewed, with an average rating of two stars.”

“The vast majority of reviewers are cheesed because, they say, the cable just plain breaks,” Grobart reports. ” Frayed ends, broken connectors, and unexplained failure to charge are some of the common complaints made about the product.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We treat our cables as if they have delicate metal wires within and keep them in Tom Bihn cable bags inside our Crumpler backpacks when traveling, so since we’ve never had an Apple cable fail, we’re probably the wrong ones to comment. Come to think of it, none of our iPhones have ever had a case, but they all somehow manage to look like new after their requisite year of use (they only go into pants pockets and center condoles that are devoid of change and keys; call us crazy, but that seems like a simple and good rule).

So, do you treat your electronic equipment and accessories like a gorilla? If so, how could Apple make their Lightning to USB Cable indestructible in your hands/feet?

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]

91 Comments

  1. A dozen iPhones later my household has experienced one cable that is showing the colored insulated wires at one end but working fine. Plenty of travel and teenager abuse.

    1. I have had 3 lightning cables fail. I simply call Apple Care and get them replaced: Fo Free

      I’m sure part of it is user error, i.e. ends dropped into open water container in Ford truck, but hey, (only down vote me if you’ve never done the same) I figured with as much Apple stuff that I buy they can, ‘Take one for the team’.

    2. A cable? A frickin’ cable?????
      How about the first gen Apple TV?
      The one that would lose ALL content if iTunes went down for a moment?
      The one with a 40 GB hard drive that was Hell to sync?
      The one that even Apple gave up on and quit updating before its 5 year run? (less than 3 actually)

      Yes, I know I can spoof a new hard drive and jail break it.
      So what? It was LESS than a hobby!
      It was having to mow the lawn on Friday evening instead of going to the dance!!!!!!
      What a $300.00 POS it was compared to a $20 CABLE!!!!!!!!!!

    3. Same here. Actually, the only cable I’ve had fall apart was a cheap, ebay, 3rd party one.

      This is a terrible article.

      How about the Apple digital camera? They, um, forgot the flash. Thats right, a point-and-shoot digital camera with no flash.

  2. Jeez I love the Lightning connector. Way better than the cable it replaced. No giant snagging head to confound your untangling efforts. No wondering which way it has to go.

    People just love to complain; that’s my diagnosis.

    1. Or maybe… just maybe… not everything that comes out of Cupertino is a piece of perfection designed and built by the gods.

      This wouldn’t be the first time people have had issues with Apple cables… remember the first MacBook Mag connectors? Apple did re-design those for a reason, and it wasn’t because of a quality control issue… or because people were whining.

      Something as elementary as power/data/sync cable should be as well designed/manufactured as anything a company builds and prides itself on.

      A cable shouldn’t be so fragile it risks breakage through normal everyday use. It shouldn’t have to be treated like it’s made of glass.

      1. That’s true…Apple does sometimes produce a poor accessory cable. But it also true that people abuse the heck out of them. I have used the same set of earbuds for a few years. But my kids break them after a few months. Granted, they wear them 24/7. But they also cram them in pockets, absently twirl them around their fingers, and leave them on beds, couches, and the floor to be sat or stepped upon. The Apple lightning/USB cable may be susceptible to damage and probably should be ruggedized, but users have to bear some responsibility.

  3. Cables naturally go through stress from being plugged and unplugged. I charge my iPhone nightly, and I have one lightning cable that only charges if I plug it in with a particular orientation. Given the prices of the cables, the “pointy end” should be more reinforced.

  4. I would have to vote for Apple’s headphones. I have had several of those have cables come out of the headphone and even had headphones split apart, and I don’t treat them harshly at all. But I just accepted that as par for the course for headphones, since virtually no brand of headphone seems to last very long. They’re one of the few products I’ll buy a replacement policy for from Best Buy, etc.

    1. What a bullshit article ! Totally made up crap by a hit-whore.

      I vote for the hockey puck mouse, my goodness that was an awful design. When the fist iMac came out I was working for apple and when we got our first iMac we all couldn’t believe such a stupid design could have come from apple. Every customer winged about it so intensely that we threw in a standard 2 button Kensington mouse for free.

      1. Actually, the hockey puck mouse works very well … if you’re in fifth grade or younger. Not so well for adults.

        We ended up with a half-dozen of the device at work when we got several early iMacs (buy a seat license for a particular 3D animation application, they threw in an iMac. For some reason, all of the ones we got were Tangerine), found a clip-on device that made the mouse more normally sized, and they worked just fine until we surplused the iMacs three years later and donated them to an elementary school.

        1. Actually, the hockey-puck mouse was arguably reasonable (once they added the little groove so you could feel which way was up), even for average-sized hands like mine. The problem was plopping your hand on it as if it was a hand-rest. If you held the mouse between your thumb and ring finger, it was fairly comfortable, and holding your hand up is better than resting it, if you’re trying to avoid tendonitis.
          So, I think a lot of people would have been OK with it if they changed how they held it. Or, to quote Steve Jobs: “You’re holding it wrong.” 😀

      1. I like mine, they are almost perfect..
        A little rubber/silicone/etc around the cone to hold them in the ear a little better and then i’d say perfect.

        thats about all I can’t bad about them, sound is good, feel is good. But they do come out easier than pretty much all other earbud types.

        As far as the Lightning cable goes..
        I have one in my car, one hooked up to my iMac, one plugged into the wall in my bedroom, and one coiled up with a portable battery. Not once has any of the cables ever had a problem.

        I see other people’s cables are always frayed, broken.. IMO it’s due to people not taking care of their stuff.

  5. So much easier to use than the old cable. What is the problem. Had one cable go bad and it was the old one. Plug it in either works for me. If a cable is all he can complain about then I guess Apple is doing good.

  6. I keep my phone caseless and also have a few locations where I store that I am sure will be free of anything that could harm it. I only use some of the apple made cases because they look good but I use them infrequently.

    However, MDN, the idea of having a case for a charging cord is absurd and I expect nobody to do that. It’s just plain true that Apple’s cords fall to shambles after a year or so; they really are quite terrible.

    That being said, charging cords for the iPhone are a dime a dozen, and on some sites they’re actually pretty close to that price, lol. So it’s a small inconvenience but the complaint holds true.

      1. Five stars is perfect or above and beyond expectation. No one is perfect so my max is 4 stars. If you really humor me or add a unique perspective to the conversation then 5 stars for you.

  7. Very surprising to read about this. I have never had an official apple brand cable fail on me since my first iPod from 2003.

    In fact one of my several lightning cables was chewed up by my pet animals and it still works! but maybe i should wrap the bitten parts with electric tape

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