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Nokia Designer Frank Nuovo Asks Apple To Bring An End To Proprietary Cables

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News Posted: Mon, Oct 14 2013 11:05 AM
Apple has famously eschewed any industry standardization with its device connectors in favor of proprietary options, including when it rolled out the new Lightning connector and sucker punched an entire side industry’s worth of iOS accessories that weren’t compatible with new iPhones and iPads. Frank Nuovo, Nokia’s phone design guru, is on record as saying that Apple needs to get with the program and switch to a standard micro USB connector as essentially the rest of the mobile industry has done.

“I think that the world is frustrated that you have to have a proprietary connector at this point of maturity in the mobile phone world, we have reached a point where these phones of different brands are everywhere,” he told the Financial Review. He also stated, “If you want to be a part of the larger ecosystem, then you have to start talking to the industry as a whole, or you are just causing a lot of inconvenience.”

Nokia's Frank Nuovo
Nokia's Frank Nuovo (Credit: AFR)

It’s a fair point, and although there was a time when nothing compared to the iPhone, and Apple could be as finicky and proprietary as it wanted (and you’ll like it), Nuovo is right that things have changed. There are more Android-based phones in the world than iPhones, and despite Apple’s half-hearted attempt to grab new users and hit a lower price point with the plastic iPhone 5C, buyers in emerging markets are going to be grabbing Android phones and other less expensive handsets far more than anything based on iOS.

Apple iOS Lightning cables

Apple may be shooting itself in the foot a bit by steadfastly holding to its proprietary Lightning connector instead of playing nice with the industry. Then again, by maintaining its stance, Apple both gets to dictate terms and make money on licensing from the many, many iOS accessory makers and also build whatever technology or capabilities into its connector that it wants. That strategy may not work forever, but it seems to be a profitable way for Apple to do things for now--even if it’s sometimes inconvenient.
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I like it, no one at work steals my cable!

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ha...good luck with that.

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BurntChz replied on Mon, Oct 14 2013 2:31 PM

While there may be an ounce of truth that Apple makes more money by creating there own connector. They also want to have 1 connector for all their devices, and micro USB doesn't cut it if you want to charge an iPad. If you own a Samsung phone and a Samsung tablet, guess what, you have 2 different connectors\chargers because thats what the USB standards mandate. The Lightning connection is superior to micro USB in capabilities as well as functionality. I don't think many Apple owners find it an "inconvenience" to have a better designed cable\connection and the peice of mind that it will work with their device. Most companies simply don't want to spend their own money to develope such things and use the standards to cut costs. If the industry wants everyone to use a standard connection, they should develope a better standard (like Apple did) for todays devices. And Frank needs to go back to designing more phones that nobody wants or buys.

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RWilliams replied on Mon, Oct 14 2013 5:11 PM

I'm not sure I follow that Samsung comment. I use the same microUSB cable to charge both my Nexus 7 tablet and aging Sony phone.

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realneil replied on Mon, Oct 14 2013 7:55 PM

Same mUSB cable for mine and my sister's phones, also charges my wife's phone. Three brands, one connector.

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digitaldd replied on Tue, Oct 15 2013 8:30 AM

What a blow this would be to the Chinese economy. New connectors or incompatible versions of the same connector, means new cables, devices (speaker docks, charging stations, etc) which need to be manufactured. Most of which are made in China or Korea. 

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BurntChz replied on Tue, Oct 15 2013 9:18 AM

Maybe it was a bad example to just use Samsung as a blanket statement, but my buddy has a Galaxy Tab 2 and S4 phone and he complains that they are different. Does it take long to charge your tablet with micro USB?

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I don't know. I mean, good for Nokia, but Apple is big enough to not go micro usb. Would be convenient I guess.

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zybch replied on Tue, Oct 15 2013 10:35 PM

I think you've been eating too many apples. USB works fine to charge and sync the devices you mentioned so long as your PC has a 2A USB socket (they pretty much all do now). The lightning cable provides absolutely NOTHING that USB/MicroUSB can't do. The old 30pin dock connector DID do more than USB (analogue audio/video in and out) but lightning is just an over-expensive and over-priced USB2 adaptor. They ONLY worthwhile thing about it is that you don't have to wory about which way around to stick the thing in, however my nokia has wireless charging and I don't even have to plug a cable in at all.

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And here it is: http://www.engadget.com/2013/12/04/usb-c-now-in-the-works-smaller-connectors/ I guess Apple had some good ideas after all ...imitation is the best form of flattery. :)

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