Welcome to our weekend Apple Breakfast column, featuring all the Apple news you missed this week in a handy summary. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes great with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning, but it’s cool if you want to read it during lunch or dinner hours too.
Blame the dongle
Macworld’s review of the 10th generation iPad went live this week (and is linked below). It’s a strange review: in many ways it’s a positive description, with the attractive design, excellent cameras and Magic Keyboard Folio all backing up the sincere praise. But there were enough quibbles to knock it down to 3 stars – not least the frankly ridiculous dongle required to pair the iPad with the only version of the Apple Pencil it supports.
Dongles, which cost extra and get lost, making everything less convenient, are understandably a sore spot for Apple users, and they seem to be on the rise. Using a dongle always reminds me of what Steve Jobs said about (appropriately) pens: if you see a dongle, they blew it. A dongle is a silent acknowledgment that something has gone wrong. Either the wrong product was purchased for the job, or it was designed incorrectly in the first place. Apple has had plenty of dongles over the years, but the Apple Pencil adapter is particularly annoying.
1. It doesn’t even work as a Lightning to USB-C adapter
A general-purpose Lightning/USB-C adapter would have some use, but as one Redditor discovered through extensive testing, the dongle appears to be a one-off product. So if you were hoping to use the dongle to reuse your old Lightning cables, you’re out of luck.
2. You will lose it
Of course you will. It is small and does not attach to anything when not in use. And then your Apple Pencil will be useless until you pay another $9.
3. It doesn’t “just” work
The writer of this column considers himself to be at least moderately tech-savvy but was stumped for about half an hour trying to charge an old Apple Pencil with the adapter. I assumed you would be able to go Apple Pencil > adapter > USB-C to USB-C cable > USB-C power adapter > socket, but it got me nowhere fast. You must use a cable and connect to the iPad to charge. (The fact that Apple Pencils have no way to indicate when they’re charging is another pain point.) As indicated in the first point, the dongle is good for only one specific use case, but for most users it won’t be obvious at first.
4. It’s there to sell you on a better model
The dongle is very much of a piece with Apple’s general approach this year, which we’ve also seen with the oddly cautious iPhone 14 upgrade: Buy the better model. Apple is a hugely detail-oriented company, and at a certain point you have to assume that the flaws in its entry-level products aren’t there because of management errors or a lack of resources, but because they want to encourage you to buy something more expensive.
5. It creates more e-waste
As mentioned above, the dongle is now bundled with the 1st generation Apple Pencil, but we have to assume that at least some of those won’t be needed (when the pencil is bought by a 9th generation iPad owner, for example) and will end up on a dump. Others will be lost (see point 2) and end up in a landfill. And the fact that it doesn’t work as a general-purpose adapter (see point 1) will contribute to the number of Lightning cables ending up in a landfill.
Inefficient design isn’t just bad for the user – it’s bad for the environment. And if Apple cared about the environment as much as it claims, it would have found a better solution.
6. Apple has had years to figure this out
Apple still sells the 1st generation Apple Pencil because it still sells a Lightning iPad. The 9th generation model is the last iPad to have a Lightning port, so as long as it’s still being sold, the original Apple Pencil must exist. Fair enough. But the USB-C switch didn’t happen yesterday. The first USB-C iPad Pro and 2nd-gen Pencil came out 2018.
Given four years to plan for the replacement of the standard iPad, it’s absurd that Apple hasn’t come up with a more elegant solution than this. The most obvious would be support for the 2nd generation Pencil, so whether it’s a technical issue, cost issue, or upgrade issue (see point 4), the whole Lightning thing seems to have taken Apple by surprise.
Apple, we keep hearing, is the most valuable company in the world, with a valuation well over $2 trillion. In the last quarter, Apple made the comically unfathomable sum of $90 billion, so they could probably afford to lose a few dollars here and there in favor of user goodwill and an improved user experience. But no: Apple loves to pick up nickels and dimes. It shoves extra ads into the App Store, pushes up the prices of its subscription services and now charges $9 for an adapter. (Sure, the adapter now comes free with the 1st-gen Apple Pencil, but if you bought a year ago, you’ll have to pay.)
The USB-C to Apple Pencil Adapter is Apple design at its worst: We only have to use it because Apple was lazy, stubborn and a little greedy.
Trending: This week’s best stories
Apple could be good or it could be Google – but it cannot be bothsays Jason Snell.
The iPhone’s most promising feature is wasted. MagSafe could have offered unique experiencesbut all we got were magnets.
Macalope is concerned about Apple’s attitude. It seems that money can turn anyone into a fool.
This epic M1 Mac mini-Nintendo Wii mashup is it courage of our dreams.
Also with record profitsApple can’t buy our trust.
This Chrome feature is so good that it can make us switch from Safari forever.
Like Apple’s prices continue to risewhere does the value come from?
There is doom on the horizon for Apple – and ads are the only answer.
In our Apple Watch Ultra review, we look at one convincing Garmin killer– but one with drawbacks to consider.
Our iPad (2022) review, meanwhile, finds one beautiful disappointment.
(We’ve also compared the 2022 and 2021 iPad models to see which standard iPad is right for you.)
Finally, our third-generation Apple TV 4K review concludes that best new feature is the price.
(On a related noteMichael Simon explains why he bought a 2021 Apple TV 4K instead of a new one.)
The rumor mill
Apple is reportedly working on a major Siri change to this no one asked for.
Next round M2 Mac may have been pushed back to 2023.
The iPhone 15 Pro may not have any actual buttons.
The glowing Apple logo could be next MacBook feature to make a comeback.
This week’s podcast
Apple’s iPad lineup is set for the 2022 shopping season, and one thing’s for sure: there are plenty of models to choose from. We are talking about The state of the iPad in this episode of the Macworld Podcast.
You can watch every episode of the Macworld Podcast on Spotify, Soundcloud, the Podcasts app or our own site.
Software updates, bugs and issues
Apple is planning a big change to the home screen layout iOS 16.2.
Apple has patched one a couple of security flaws with the macOS Ventura 13.0.1 update.
Google warns all Mac users to patch a ‘high risk’ Chrome security flaw.
“Privacy issues” have been raised collection of usage data on the App Store.
The 2nd generation AirPods Pro just received a mysterious firmware update.
And with that, we’re done for this week. If you want to receive regular summaries, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Twitter for the latest news. See you next Saturday, enjoy the rest of the weekend and stay Appley.