Everyone has microUSB cables lying around. The standard is used to charge almost every non-Apple smartphone as well as myriad other products from Bluetooth earpieces to external batteries.
When the iPhone 5 was announced, Apple revealed the first product with its new smaller, reversible Lightning connector, meant to replace the nearly ten-year-old 30-pin dock we’re used to. Last year, the European Commission passed a law requiring all smartphone manufacturers to use the same plug — in this case, microUSB. A standard already in use throughout the world, it made total sense. Apple, instead of building an iPhone specifically with microUSB input, which would limit its TV- and audio-out functionality, instead created a 30-pin to microUSB adapter, sold separately on their website and in retail stores.
Now, with the launch of the Lightning connector, Apple has skirted the ire of the EU by doing the same — this time with a tiny Lightning to microUSB adapter. Available for £15.00 from the British Apple Store, it would be a great way to avoid having to buy the larger 30-pin to Lightning adapter that Apple is charging $35 here in Canada. It would also allow many users from having to purchase extra Lightning to USB cables at $21 a piece: you’d just be able to use that existing microUSB connector with the Lightning adapter and charge/connect your iPhone.
Unfortunately it seems that Apple doesn’t plan to offer such a product here in Canada; they’d rather we stay within the Apple ecosystem. The problem, however, with the Lightning to 30-pin adapter is that, like the microUSB equivalent, it doesn’t support TV- or audio-out functionality. You’ll need to purchase a a Lightning to USB cable separately for that. For Android users upgrading to an iPhone 5, or just for someone with too many microUSB cables lying around, the Lightning to microUSB could become invaluable.
If only they sold it in Canada.