Apple drops dongle pricing amid consumer backlash

November 7, 2016 // 10:43 a.m.

Tags: #adaptor #apple #dongle #iphone #lightning #macbook-pro #magsafe #snapnator #thunderbolt #thunderbolt-3 #usb-type-c

Apple is, predictably, suffering backlash from its decision to standardise on the USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 connectors across its refreshed MacBook Pro range, and has announced a price cut to its adaptor accessories even as companies announce third-party tools for reintroducing missing functionality.

When Apple announced its latest iPhone models would not include the venerable 3.5mm audio jack but instead require wireless headphones or a bundled adaptor dongle, it was mocked; when it launched its latest MacBook Pro models with 3.5mm jacks but nothing else except two or four USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, it was roasted. Users took to social media complaining that even the most basic of tasks - such as connecting a latest-generation iPhone or iPad to a latest-generation MacBook Pro, or using an external display - now required expensive add-on dongles to convert the USB Type-C connectors to something a little more common.

Apple's response to the backlash was quick and simple: a price cut across its dongle range. 'We recognise that many users, especially pros, rely on legacy connectors to get work done today and they face a transition,' the company admitted in a statement to press issued late last week. 'We want to help them move to the latest technology and peripherals, as well as accelerate the growth of this new ecosystem. Through the end of the year, we are reducing prices on all USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 peripherals we sell, as well as the prices on Apple’s USB-C adaptors and cables.'

The price cuts see common adaptors like USB Type-C to USB Type-A dropping by over 50 percent, while more expensive adaptors like the USB Type-C to Lightning cable required to charge your iPhone from the MacBook Pro has been cut just 17 percent. The cuts will also expire at the end of the year, after which Apple will hike the prices back up to their previous levels.

While many are still complaining about Apple's decision to eliminate all previous-generation ports - bar the 3.5mm jack, which it had derided as outdated and outmoded at its iPhone launch but now seems to believe is a requirement of pro-grade hardware - from its MacBook Pro family, others are taking advantage: Snapnator has launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund production of a USB Type-C magnetic coupling accessory which replicates the safe detachment feature of Apple's previous MagSafe power cables.

While only suitable for power transmission, rather than power and data, the project has proven popular: confusion about Apple's potential to issue a legal challenge to the project using its MagSafe patents and trademarks and the company's own inability to clarify whether the adaptor supports 60W or 87W charging rates haven't stopped it from raising nearly $95,000 on a $25,000 goal with 50 days still to run.
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