Cable Jobs

Without trying to fire up the Apple vs the ‘rest of the world’ argument, and keeping well away from the computer debate, there was once a time when someone mentioned Apple to me I thought of sharp design and build quality. I’ve never owned or have plans to own an Apple computer but I do own and enjoy using an Apple iPhone and iPad. Coming from a design background, the crispy clean design and very slick operation coupled with their ability to do what I want better than the ‘rest of the world’ attracted me to these products. Both products tick the design box with a big fat marker pen. Quality? Well, no real complaints about build quality of either my current iPhone 4 or the iPad1. My old 3GS is now owned by my son and is suffering the well known connector socket case-crack syndrome, undoubtedly, the plastic case design of the 3G and 3GS was a cost cutting design influence. So far: the iPhone 4’s design seems to be very robust. The new design not only did away with that nasty plastic case, it was replaced by a stainless steel frame. Similarly, the iPad’s aluminium case seems very robust.

There is one serious gripe I have with both products and without any doubt an accounting decision over a design consideration. Both devices need a power cable and as you’d expect both devices are supplied with a power cable of the USB variety. or should I say, both device are supplied with a ridiculously short, thin and poorly made power cable of the USB variety.

Point 1. A 1 metre is not long. Especially if you want to put your iDevice on a desk and charge it from a wall socket that’s under the desk. With a desk height of 76cm you’re not left with a whole lot of cable on the desk to plug into your iDevice. This leaves the iDevice precariously close to the edge of the desk when charging.

Point 2. I’ve bought 2 new official iDevice charging cables and both have started to crack and break at the USB connection end. I don’t get it, it’s a straight connector, its not kinked, bent out of shape or mistreated. They just break. Every tried doing an iOS update with a dodgy cable? It can and does result in issues swearbox filling kind.

Point 3. Apple, You’re riding a quality costs money bandwagon that you got off years ago. You are cutting corners to save money yet you charge top Dollar/Euro for cheaper components. The market hype around Apple does nothing to stop this either as the typical New Wave Apple Fan seems to be happy with being ripped off with inferior build quality, as they’ve never known otherwise.

Fed up to the back teeth of these cables breaking I’ve finally sourced an alternative. It’s a cable from Belkin that measures 1.2metres instead of the measly Apple 1metre. the cable diameter is 4.5mm instead of the skinny 3mm Apple offering. Better still, the Belkin costs € 14,99 instead of the Apple price of € 19,00.

Since buying the Belkin I’ve found and even better deal! Griffin make a 2.1 metre long cable that looks as good as or even better than the Belkin for € 34,95. To really rub it in, Apple obviously realise they come up short (pun intended) because the Griffin is available through their own Apple web store!

These Apple iDevices are expensive products with undoubtedly vast profit margins. is putting a decent cable in the box going to hurt Apple? No.


Splitting hairs, you can see the slight design variation in the Belkin (left) and Apple (right) Design is one thing but should it sacrifice quality?


Belkin on top, it’s 4.5mm dia. cable obviously a lot more substantial than the lighter 3mm Apple.


The Apple cable on the left has broken and frayed. This has happened twice now, I’m hoping the Belkin Will last longer!


The Belkin is 20cm longer than the Apple cable. It might not seem a lot, but for me it means my iDevices can sit further on the desk when charging from AC power.


  • phil - Point 1.. A wee suggestion. With a wee but of carpentry.. mount a socket into the desktop. or site it just under the desktop.. That’s what I did and its handy for plugging all sorts into.

  • Rob Mitchell - Not a bad Idea Phil.

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