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.
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be accidental and Apple certainly doesn’t need to worry about P&L. If it was simply a case of having a stock surplus of outdated accessories, it’s likely they’d just offload them to a wholesale distributor and absorb the loss.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.