Apple loses the plot on accessories front

Posted by Nick Farrell

It appears that Apple's moves to take control of its accessories market moving from a 30-pin connector to the Lightning connector has backfired completely.

Apple hacked off a lot of its accessory partners when it announced that its iPhone 5 would not run the 30 pin connector and if users upgraded they would have to buy new accessories.

When Apple announced the move, Fredric Paul, an editor at ReadWriteWeb,  said the change would cause problems for company. Now he says that he has been vindicated.

Paul warned that the peripheral market's commitment to the iPhone's 30-pin connector was a big competitive advantage for Apple, because being the one device that could attach directly to external speakers, clocks, stands and chargers added an extra helping of utility for its devices.

But Apple's aggressive shift to Lightning for its products chased many manufacturers to find more open means of connecting devices. In some cases this meant choosing mobile devices made by rivals.

Logitech and Geneva Lab no longer use Apple connectors in their devices and are much more interested in Bluetooth. iHome, one of the biggest makers of iPhone clock radios and other Apple audio accessories, is also introducing more Bluetooth technology, which allows electronic accessories to easily connect to many different devices.

Apple says it is not bothered, at least officially. Bluetooth devices will connect to iOS just as easily as it does to say, Android devices, a spokesApple pointed out.

The move was a spectacular own goal. Apple had an iron grip on the digital accessories market and now it is starting to slip. True, the industry is moving to wireless connectors anyway and Apple products have the technology to benefit from that, but the point is that until now Apple dominated hard-wired connections and wi-fi is a not a region where Apple has complete control. Apple could have easily milked the market until everyone moved to wi-fi, instead, it forced the industry to change.