Could Apple turn off all but its core fans?


Apple has changed the charging socket on the new iPhone, meaning existing accessories no longer fit. Chris Donkin says this will play on the minds of consumers before they consider buying one or upgrading

As expected, the usual fanfare greeted the launch of the iPhone 5 on September 12, and once again those looking to stand out from the crowd of online commentators will immediately write it off.

But the story has already been written: pictures of enormous queues will circulate around the world and the by now traditional ‘Sold Out’ signs will appear as the device sells by the truckload – regardless of what it can and cannot do.

I have said for years that Apple could unveil a bin bag filled with holes and its fanboy following would still wear it as a winter coat.

However, there is a feeling that Apple might be starting to stretch some customers to the limit to ensure it extracts a few more pennies from them.

The first thing to note is the iPhone 5 lacks innovative touches – something Apple has built its reputation on.

Yes, its design, the size of its screen, the speed of its processor and its camera quality have all been updated, but it’s nothing Samsung hasn’t done before.

However, it is Apple’s decision to change its charging port that could – and should – infuriate many.

A few years ago, the GSMA called for manufacturers to adopt the same charging points to reduce waste and benefit customers.

Today, Nokia, BlackBerry (RIM), Sony, LG, Motorola, Huawei, ZTE, Samsung, HTC and even OEMs all use Micro USB charging points.

The result of Apple’s change of charging point is that all previous accessories for the iPhone have suddenly become obsolete.

And we’re not just talking about chargers. Apple-compatible products such as speaker docks, car kits, charging docks and the like are prominent in electrical stores – and they can all be costly. Many have been designed specifically for Apple products.

If potential iPhone 5 owners are fortunate enough to have a multiple connection point, they will still have to dip their hand in their pocket to buy new accessories.

The likelihood is all of these will have to be replaced – giving the customer something to seriously consider before signing the upgrade form or entering their PIN for the iPhone 5.