Cem ARGUN

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The Lightning Conspiracy ⚡

Has Apple Permanently Crossed Over To The Dark Side?

“Big Brother, Knock Twice If It’s You” Apple’s famous 1984 commercial, revolting against the evil Big Brother, IBM
On September 12, 2012 Apple introduced the Lightning Connector. And we’ll see why 2012 and on, it’s exactly like “1984”.
The packshot of the famous Apple 1984 commercial
“Lightning is an 8-pin connector which carries a digital signal. […] Official Lightning connectors contain an authentication chip that was intended to make it difficult for third-party manufacturers to produce compatible accessories without being approved by Apple[link]; however, the chip has been cracked.”[link]
So carrying a digital signal means this: Apple knows exactly the each and every time you insert a lightning cable to your iOS devices, whether it’s Apple or third party. A digital signal is the perfect technology to discriminate between cables, by manufacturer ID, by retail outlet, by date of first use, by number of times used, by total hours used, by country, by iOS version, you name it.

Apple can, theoretically, extend or maximize the life expectancy of lightning cables they sell at Apple Stores and reduce the life expectancy — not reject, to avoid competition and antitrust laws (!) — of virtually the very same cable, sold through Ali Express and manufactured at the same Chinese factory, minutes later than the one sold under their brand.

Planned Obsolescence, To Literally Kill Products

I’m fine with some soft planned obsolescence, I’m used and maybe addicted to new products, faster processors, more memory, more screen size, new operating system, all of which I know I don’t really need. But the technology is evolving, fine by me. (Still less juice time though.)

But this is called “planned obsolescence” at its worst. Much much worse than the infamous Phoebus Cartel of almost a century ago.

Well I’m sure a lot of people are experiencing suddenly dying lightning cables. But there’s no easy way to prove this conspiracy, that they die as part of an evil algorithm. Literally, by a poisoned Apple. If someone can prove it, there would be serious legal consequences. Zillion dollar fines and zillions of litigation cases. Oh boy.

A Singular Case Proving Apple Misconduct

Well, in our household there are 7 fully functional iOS devices that suffer from the lightning connector, 5 of which are currently in use. And we’re burying one lightning cable (RIP) at least every month. And I’m definitely not talking about broken, physically damaged cables.

Still, buying 3 years’ worth of stock (all 12 $6.48, shipping included) from Ali Express, beats buying just one (just 1 $20.69, tax & shipping included) from Apple Store. So, yes we’re loyal Apple fans, but that not stupid, OK?

The Lightning Cable Of The Dark Side

The Chinese who manufacture the very iOS devices can’t really be that bad in manufacturing those cables. Can they? [Oh by the way, the Chinese excel in manufacturing the old 30-pin iOS cables or micro USB cables in general, I’ve seen no one complaining about those, except breaking after torturous years in use. That’s strange. ☺]

When Apple launched iOS 10, I waited, as a usual precaution, you know, to avoid any early adopter catastrophe that may arise from a minor glitch in the software. But, an early adopter by nature, I still wait. I’ll tell you why.

My son’s iPad Mini 4 (bought in July 2016) required an app that required iOS 10 functionality, Swift Playgrounds from Apple to be precise. So I had to upgrade his. I plugged it in, and hit update. About 15 minutes later, the upgrade was completed. But, the plugged in device was not charging any more. I unplugged and replugged it. I heard the beep and briefly [blink of an eye] saw the thunder/bolt icon ⚡, only until it disappeared again. Repeated a few times, hélas nothing changed, the cable was as dead as kitchen twine. (As this was a standard plain white 3 ft cable, I really don’t know whether it was the original cable that came with the product or one of these I ordered last month in bulk from Ali Express, I’m gonna label/mark them next time.)

Switching to the cable my iPhone was plugged, the iPad started charging again. So there was nothing wrong with the just updated iOS device in use. Then just before trashing the faulty cable, somehow the devil poked me and I plugged my iPhone — still on iOS 9.3.5 — using the just dead lightning cable, only to witness an incredible resurrection, — obviously not resuscitation as it rose from the dead miraculously by itself.

Hallelujah! The Lightning Is Risen

Hallelujah, ⚡ it’s a miracle! But a selective one. Plug it again to the iOS 10 iPad, not charging. Pew. (You can keep repeating this routine to go mad, in no time.)

No one from Apple or a higher almighty can explain me why this fully functional cable is rejected by iOS 10, something which they can only do at every iOS update, because of the cracked chip. I won’t easily buy it.

I don’t know if it’s enough “proof of misconduct by use of an algorithm to digitally discriminate between perfectly functional accessories”, but it’s enough to convince me. So I delayed our household migration to iOS 10, indefinitely. Until the very last minute I’ll be obliged to.

The thing is, this kind of distrust to a brand is corrosive. I’m now more inclined to believe that Apple is slowing my iPhone 6 to make me upgrade to to iPhone 7, earlier than necessary, which is maybe never.

Now, think about why Apple is killing the headphone jack or Macbook Pro’s USB. To sell more, to police which headphone or data cable is fit for Apple’s bottom line.

I felt exactly the same, when I got pissed off at John Sculley for selling me a lousy Mac LC, a flatbed scanner and a color printer for 10 grant and eventually switched to Windows for good. A decision I don’t regret, despite Jobs.

iOS 10 Adoption Declined 33% in 2016

As Apple just announced, 60% of it’s devices are now on iOS 10, 42 days after its release (September 13 - October 25, 2016). The adoption of iOS 9 (September 16 -October 19, 2015) seems to be slightly better at 61% in just 33 days. But there’s a 9 day trick, here. When you normalize it to a daily figure, you get 1.85 percentage points per day for iOS 9, versus only 1.43 for iOS 10. That’s a significant 33% decline in first month daily average adoption rate. Some of it might be attributed to the 10% decline in iOS unit sales in 2016. But the large chunk of the decline seems to be software related. No wonder why annual profits fall for first time in 15 years, sales down for third consecutive quarters. I think I’m not alone.

Tim Doing The 9 Day Trick, Yet Still 1 Percentage Point Below 2015

Despite the explosive batteries of Samsung, 2017 might not be much different for Apple. Here comes the Pixel to upgrade Android’s perceived image in full G force. I believe Google has a tremendous brand leverage over all other Android manufacturers combined.

So there might indeed be millions of unhappy, pissed-off loyal customers like me. What if we all bail and migrate to our dear Google’s Pixel?

Cem ARGUN

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