You’ve just bought the newest smartphone. You get home, you open the box like a kid on Christmas morning, and you take everything out. You check out the phone itself, the new headphones – everything but 2 items: the USB adapter and usual charger cable. You just throw that stuff aside; they’re as unimportant to you as the box it came in, maybe even less than that. But in my opinion, your device charger cable might be the most important thing in that box – perhaps even more so than the phone.
Now follow me for a second – I know what you’re thinking: that might be a bit more far-fetched than you’re willing to accept. Granted, the whole reason you bought that unimportant cardboard box in the first place was for the device (smartphone, tablet, etc.) inside. But think about it: which one is more useful without the other? Without a smartphone, a charger cable is still a charger cable; you can charge countless devices at your whim whenever you’d like. The flip side, however, is that without the charger cable, your phone is nothing more than a fancy paperweight.
Your charger cable has to be the most under-appreciated peripheral there is, but the minute it stops working (on average, an Apple lightning cable lasts 10-12 weeks with regular use), it climbs to the top of your shopping list. Consumers continue to be frustrated with the lack of innovation or improvement when it comes to this cable’s lifeline. A family of 4, each member owning their own smartphone, could potentially use more than 40 phone chargers per year – a whopping $800+ on phone cord chargers annually (The Atlantic 2014 http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/05/your-guide-to-replacing-the-infuriating-apple-lightning-cord/361503/).
Of course, you could buy the cheaper cables on Amazon or eBay, but that could potentially end up costing you just as much because, although they are cheaper, they last only half as long. Then there’s the high-end cables that last substantially longer and can save you a ton of money, but all of them are from third-party companies.
Don’t get me wrong – there is innovation in the peripheral space (routers, remote controls, portable chargers), but just barely. Every year, we see mobile devices innovated by leaps and bounds. I think if Apple announced an indestructible (or near-indestructible) charger versus a new phone that their ads tell me I just have to have, I would be just as excited. Because as thrilling as it is to get a brand-new device every year, honestly, I’d be just as thrilled to interact with my old device in new ways. As such, I find myself preferring my portable charger over my wall charger because of the speed in which it charges.
Sub-par charging cables not only are costly to replace but can eventually harm your devices. In the end I found investing a more in a decent charging cable or power bank was less costly in the long run. Until phone companies ship out accessories that are as well thought out as its phones and other devices third party companies will continue to eat their lunch.