The Dock Connector Accessories That Are Still Available From Apple

It’s been more than two years since Apple last sold a device with a 30-pin dock connector in the US. Despite this, you can still find a few compatible accessories, surprisingly, on Apple’s online store.

30-pin to USB Cable

Composite AV Cable

30-pin Digital AV Adapter

30-pin to VGA Adapter

iPhone Bluetooth Travel Cable

Belkin 30-pin Secure Wired Keyboard for iPad

At first, it seem odd that Apple is still selling these types of products. After all, they aren’t still selling iPod classic or iPhone 4/4s cases, so why continue to sell this particular range of dock connector accessories?

It’s not unreasonable to assume that it’s simply an oversight, or that Apple has a warehouse full of old accessories that they’re trying to clear. But that isn’t how Apple does things. Back in my days working at the Apple Store, I saw entire lines of third-party products pulled off the shelves because they became redundant–no longer compatible with the latest Apple devices.

Apple tends to have a reason for doing things, whether it’s a reason we agree with or not. Continuing to sell these products isn’t likely to be accidental and Apple certainly doesn’t need to worry about P&L. If it was simply a case of having a stock surplus of outdated accessories, it’s likely they’d just offload them to a wholesale distributor and absorb the loss. It stands to reason that there’s a purpose for keeping these particular accessories around.

Perhaps there’s simply still demand for them, even if it’s miniscule. For instance, corporate or educational IT doesn’t evolve at a pace as brisk as Apple’s product line refreshes (insert Mac Pro sick burn here). It wouldn’t surprise me if many K-12 institutions that purchased a large number of iPad 2 devices, along with certain accessories, are still using them. After all, cables break and adapters are lost. Similarly, TVs and projectors last a long time, so it’s not uncommon to find those that only offer VGA or Composite Video connections.

When it comes to the dock connector USB cable, there’s another factor that comes into play: the iPhone 4s. Although it was mostly discontinued over two years ago, it was still available for sale in India until February 2016. India is a market Apple has strong desires for, but hasn’t been fully successful in. Since Apple had been selling a dock connector-equipped device in 2016, it’s in their interest to continue offering this USB cable.

When you take all this into consideration, Apple’s continued offering of certain older accessories starts to make some sense.

The exception to all of this is, of course, the Bluetooth travel cable which was first available back when the original iPhone launched. I can’t imagine anyone buying this, considering the Bluetooth Headset was discontinued in 2009.

Unpresidented!

With the inauguration almost upon us, I launched this Teespring campaign yesterday with a design I created using Graphic on an iPad Pro:

Purchase this t-shirt and contribute to Planned Parenthood.

Now you can have the best word… and wear it in style! Celebrate the ever-increasing vocabulary of a man who is so smart, he doesn’t need to have daily intelligence briefings.

This shirt also symbolizes the close relationship between our next President and the country he ultimately serves. Wear it proudly, comrade!

Because no-one respects women more than our President Elect, all of the proceeds go directly to Planned Parenthood.

It’s a worthy cause, especially when you consider who the Vice President is going to be, and the t-shirt starts at just $18. The campaign goal is 50, so please consider purchasing one.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Workflows

Me, over at the Workflow Directory blog, announcing the end of Workflow Directory:

I always knew that the [Workflow] gallery could be updated at any time, making Workflow Directory redundant. In fact, I have always hoped it would, which is why I’m not in the least bit sad or disappointed about this announcement. Like all workarounds, Workflow Directory was something I only considered as temporary. Now that the limitations the gallery have been addressed, there’s no further need for a workaround.

The Painful Process of Replacing a Damaged Apple Watch

Earlier this week, my Apple Watch met an unfortunate end when I dropped it onto the kitchen floor. Sod’s law was in full effect as it landed face-down, shattering the glass instantly. This was less than a week after reading about Stephen Hackett’s own Apple Watch coming to a similar end.

Unlike Stephen, I (for reasons I still cannot fathom) had not purchased AppleCare+ for it. This meant replacing it at the Genius Bar would cost $199. Considering that the Series 1 starts at just $269 and is much faster, I decided to pay a little more and bought the Series 1 Space Gray 42mm at the West 14th Street Apple Store–this time with AppleCare.

Replacing an Apple Watch is, in theory, no different than transferring an Apple Watch from one iPhone to another. It should have been simple and straightforward. Unfortunately, and what is becoming a trend at Apple, that wasn’t the case. The process should have been as follows:

  1. Unpair the old Apple Watch from your iPhone, creating a backup in the process
  2. Pair the new Apple Watch to the iPhone
  3. When prompted, select the backup to restore from

What I actually had to do was reminiscent of a usability issue that once plagued iOS. A backup can only be restored to an Apple Watch that is running the same version OS (or earlier). While that isn’t necessarily an issue in itself, the way this is handled by the Watch app is kind of ridiculous.

Once I unpaired my damaged Apple Watch, I began the pairing process with the new one. When prompted to select a backup to restore from, the only options I had were a backup from September and one from last year. The backup from my just-unpaired Apple Watch was nowhere to be seen. Without any context, it simply appeared that the backup didn’t happen. Perhaps something had gone wrong during the unpairing process that prevented a backup from being made?

After a few expletive-filled minutes, I realized that this must be because my old watch was running watchOS 3.1, whereas the new one from the Apple Store was still running 3.0. I tested this by setting up my old watch again and restoring it from backup to see what options I had. As I had hoped, the recent backup did appear.

This backup ambiguity used to be a common issue in iOS and one that resulted in many headaches. If you backed up a device running a version of iOS that’s newer than the new device to restore to, you couldn’t restore a backup. Instead, you’d have to set up the device as new, update it, then restore it and try again. This isn’t the case anymore as it was finally fixed earlier this year and iOS now offers to update your device before doing anything else if it detects the backup was made with a newer version of iOS.

Alas, this doesn’t apply to the process of setting up an Apple Watch. In fact, there’s no information at all that you might need to update the watch before you can restore a newer backup. As far as the Watch app was concerned, I could either set up my watch as new or restore from one of the two older backups. Only after performing the following steps was I able to restore the recent backup to my new watch:

  1. Unpair the old Apple Watch from your iPhone, creating a backup in the process
  2. Pair the new Apple Watch to the iPhone
  3. Set up the watch as a new Apple Watch
  4. Go through all of the various confirmation screens
  5. Perform a software update
  6. Unpair the watch
  7. Pair the watch again, this time being able to restore from the recent backup

I worry about how many people have not been able to restore a recent backup to a new watch because their replacement watch wasn’t running the same software as the previous one. I only knew about this workaround because I’d experienced it before with iOS–and I’m an Apple nerd.

The watch is essentially a companion to the iPhone so there isn’t much data that the watch itself contains, but being able to restore from a backup is the best way to keep the disruption to a minimum. Considering how long it takes to set up, update, or unpair a watch, the whole process was an experience almost as painful as smashing the watch in the first place.