Review: Apple Lightning to 30 Pin Adapter

Apple decided to make a big change to make its big phone (and other iDevices) a little smaller. Apple decided to retire the ubiquitous 30 pin adapter that has been connecting Apple devices to computers, docks, and other accessories for about 9 years or so.The new Lightning connector is smaller, which allows for different tolerances when building things like iPhones and iPod Touches, and presumably some sort of iPad Mini, as well as other gadgets in Apple’s iLineup.

The potential problem here is for those who have a substantial investment in iDevice accessories like docks, sound systems, other connectors, etc… Sure there was some noise made about the potential obsoleting of those accessories, but Apple is providing a range of adapters to hopefully ease the transition to what we can hope will be a few years of accumulating Lightning Connectors. One of those adapters is the Lightning to 30 Pin Adapter which recently started shipping. It retails for $29.00 currently only at Apple. My adapter just arrived yesterday and of course I wanted to check it out.

IMG_1476First up, this thing is small. For some reason I thought it be akin to the Camera Kit accessories that Apple made available but it is considerably smaller. Next, light the Lightning to USB connector that comes with the iPhone 5, it fits very snuggly into the iPhone 5. Almost too snug if you ask me. Taking it out feels like you might break something. You can plug it in either way, which is a feature in the new age of Lightning Connectors.

I don’t own a lot of iDevice accessories but there was one I was very interested in trying out and that’s the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor. I use this to monitor my blood pressure. I had read this TUAW report that some users were having compatibility issues with the new adapter didn’t work with the Withings Cuff, but I can report that in my instance all worked as advertised. (Note that the TUAW report has been updated as well.)

I have a music dock from Altec hanging around that I really don’t use anymore. So, I plugged the iPhone 5 with the adapter in to give that a try. Everything worked as expected. Obviously things look a bit weird when plugged in this way.

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One downside that I’ve noticed, at least in my usage, the design of the adapter means that there will be many iPhone 5 cases that have to be removed to plug it in. The case manufacturer would have to design an opening wide enough for the adapter to fit flush against the bottom of the iPhone 5. I think that would interfere, in most situations with openings for the iPhone 5 speakers. So, know if you’re going to use this adapter you will need to remove the majority of cases.

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Apple is making an adapter with a cable that might suit this situation better, but I don’t have one of those at my disposal. That cable will retail for $39.00.

So, there you have it. A quick review of the Lightning to 30 Pin Adapter. I can’t vouch for every accessory out there, but at least for the two I tested things seem to be working just fine.

Comments

  1. Spinthought says

    Hi Warner, thanks for the review.
    I did get the Lightening cable adapter yesterday and would recommend that over the non-cable adapter for anyone with any case that isn’t wafer thin. I’ll get the adapter you reviewed shortly but judging by your review there’s no way it would work with my Otterbox iPhone 5 case and removing it is not a viable option.
    So for anyone with a reasonably protective case that takes some doing to remove, I would highly recommend the cabled version of the Lightening adapter. It will look even more odd with a variety of accessories, but at least you won’t have to remove the case.
    Cheers,
    Ben

  2. Todd says

    Wish I would have read this first. The adapter does not work with most cases. At least the two different major brands we bought for our two new phones. Thus they don’t do me any good in trying to adapt my existing chargers.

  3. Spinthought says

    However the Otterbox Commuter series for the iPhone 5 does not work with the iPhone 5 adapter – I should have been more specific. I’m surprised the Defender does have a wide enough opening to fit the adapter, but that’s great – the Defender is overkill for protection in my case (no pun intended). Thx – Ben

  4. Nanc says

    Actually as far the Defender having a “perfect fit” for the adapter I would say that is six of one and a half dozen of the other. Having several Apple products and now an iPhone5 user I find the change over of the pins two fold. One being convenient that you don’t have to search in the dark, turn on a light, to see the side of which you plug in the pin (old products). The new style being more convenient, any way fits. On the down side; for those that say the Otter Box Defender case fits the adapter, please rethink this after looking at your case once the adapter is engaged. It is “not” a perfect fit as you have to forse the adapter into place. Once doing so you will see the case is no longer sealed at the bottom. This may be okay for charging however this adapter is not just used for charging. It now defeats the purpose of keeping dust particles etc., away from the phone. I certainly would have thought Apple would have thought this process through a little more before jumping the gun on a new style pin. It isn’t even a issue to some of us about spending the money for products, just GIVE us the products to purchase to utilize and protect our purchases to begin with. When you market a new phone one should really have the proper accessories right along side that new phone once it hits the stores. I am still a Apple user but I say shame on Apple for dropping the ball on this one…

    • Nanc says

      To clarify my statement above I am talking about the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter and not the cable version. I will be purchasing the cable version next however will need to figure out ways to mount my iPhone5 to various components lol.

  5. si tattersall says

    A complete waste of time and money! I have been an avid supporter and user of Apple products for years now, but the whole ‘iphone’ debacle is becoming a joke! Initially you buy Apple computers over ‘PC’ and microsoft due to the overall lower cost of ownership and their reliability along with user friendliness! I went with the iphone 4 as Vodafone offered it as part of a contract. Now i was given an iphone5 as an ‘upgrade’ this year – ‘downgrade’. The main obvious problem is with this connector….WHY?? Now this phone fits NONE of my media devices. The reasons for changing to this much less robust device was so you could plug it in either way thus saving oh so valuable nano seconds in our so rushed and hectic lifestyles. I bought an adaptor – it snapped off on the first application!! This is a huge moneymaking venture for Apple that they needn’t have embarked on! All it does is peeve up to now avid fans of Apple! That and the various increasing incompatibility of other Apple software products and systems……but that is yet another issue!

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