When Apple introduced Thunderbolt as their new standard for ultra-fast data transfer on newer Macs in 2011, the name fit nicely (we’ll conveniently ignore that it’s still hard to find Thunderbolt-compatible accessories in 2012). So it’s a little strange to me that Apple would choose to call their new iPhone 5 cable “Lightning” without actually […]
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Apple’s New Lightning USB Cable Strikes…Slowly?

When Apple introduced Thunderbolt as their new standard for ultra-fast data transfer on newer Macs in 2011, the name fit nicely (we’ll conveniently ignore that it’s still hard to find Thunderbolt-compatible accessories in 2012). So it’s a little strange to me that Apple would choose to call their new iPhone 5 cable “Lightning” without actually improving its transfer speeds.

Yep, Lightning still only transfers data to between the iPhone 5 and Mac at USB 2.0 speeds, instead of the USB 3.0 speeds we all expected. A speed upgradewould have made sense, given that 2012 Macs received USB 3.0, but according to Apple’s own page for the $20 Lightning USB cable, the new cable is clocked in at USB 2.0 speeds. The name lightning implies speed – not more durability or a dual-edged design – and it’s strange that increased speed isn’t a major part of the branding of this new cable.

Granted, there could still be a increased data transfer rate because of the all-digital design of the new Lightning cable – but it certainly won’t be a drastic change, so why the new moniker? The 30-pin connector didn’t really have a public-facing codename, so why would Apple bother calling their smaller cable Lightning, when it will obviously pale in comparison to the slightly older Thunderbolt in transfer speeds?

I’m still happy to see a new cable design overall, and I do think that change was inevitable – but it’s a major surprise to me that Lightning is clocking in at USB 2.0 speeds.

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