What’s the big deal about cables anyway?
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs famously always hated cables. The folklore is that his dream was always to create consumer electronic devices that had no cables at all.
What a great idea
Again and again in recent years I’ve come across people moaning about cables in Apple products. Well, that is, cables and their associated interconnects.
I’m talking about:
- The headphone jack
- Lightning v USB
- USB v Lightning
- Various flavors of ‘dongle-gate’
In each case the critics have slated an Apple decision only to see the entire industry emulate it a little later. The thing is, what are they complaining about?
Don’t tie me down
Surely the ambition of any consumer electronic designer should be to eliminate as many cables as possible?
You kind of know that’s part of the agenda with Apple and its moves to adopt wireless charging in its products, even though there’s some way to go until the company completes that journey.
Wires get tangled and frayed. Wires tie you down. They get in the way.
They make electronic products more fault-prone, cause accidents and those ports in the side of your devices mean you will be waiting a really long time until you can drop them in water, unless you invest in OtterBox cases.
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Look at the latest iPhone. It’s so waterproof you can drop it in a shallow pool and it may still be working 30-minutes later. (Don’t test this at home). It has one port, a camera, four physical switches and little holes around the speaker grille.
You power it up with a cable, and that’s it.
You can get some accessories (including some rather outstanding FM radio headphones I’m still very enthusiastic about) that use that port.
But it’s pretty clear Apple would prefer you got rid of all of that and had a device that responded to your touch and needed no moving parts, ports or cables at all.
What’s wrong with that?
You see, I just don’t understand why people are so passionate about cables.
I hate them.
I hate that they festoon themselves around my entire existence, and in an ideal world I’d have no need for them at all. Lights, cameras and other forms of accessory action would draw power from around them (from the Sun?). My television would sit proudly on my wall without any annoying wires wriggling down the wall. My Mac? Cable-free.
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Sure, I get the argument that these cables and wires and interconnects are necessary to connect our pricey and expensive gadgets to other gadgets, but isn’t it just a little inelegant? I kind of feel like this is early nineteenth century technology that holds back 21stCentury dreams.
We are already in space. Why on earth do we need cables to hold us back?
Somewhat ironically, Apple’s work to eliminate cables means it sells a lot of different dongles at this point in time, but you know that times change and new paradigms will become more dominant.
With this in mind, the only things in the way of my embracing cloud services, personal cloud services and the like is the relative insecurity around the data transmission when using those things.
But I so look forward to cable-free Macs and an Apple TV.