From this article:
“When I opened the charger up, I expected to find a standard design, but I've compared the charger to the Samsung charger and several other high-quality industry designs, and Apple goes beyond these designs in several ways.”
samsung $8, 0.5Amp
HP, $15, 2Amp, plus interchangeable plugs for several countries in 1.4x size of apple's
Google, no option to buy extra power cords for nexus one, but who would? it's 1Amp and cheap components. with the cable permanently attached.
And when I add a generic 2 prong Euro adapter, Apple's is still the smallest brand name charger I've seen.
Finally, the iPhone 4 charger torn down here is labeled 1A, not 0.5A, and certainly charges iPhone 4 in a fraction of the time of lesser chargers.
I'm amazed how much less time it takes to fully recharge from 10% - 100% the iPhone 4s versus the Samsung (Google) Galaxy Nexus. Granted, thats not just the charger.
when used with a regular miniUSB cable , i only get 0.5A.
or the one i have from a 3Gs box is only 0.5A.
(I would have just pulled it out with insulated pliers, though.)
can't fathom it being stuck there in any circumstance.
It all comes down to price and most customers (myself included in this case) do not know any better.
Safety certification of some sort is only "required" in some markets, some jurisdictions, etc. For instance a safety certification is required for devices in a public school, is usually required by the local fire inspector in commercial structures. etc.
Getting a UL stamp on a consumer device is actually just a "cover your ass" move. If a device were to short out and kill someone or set a structure on fire, the existence of the UL certification allows the manufacturer to avoid legal responsibility for damages in most cases.
The only generally applicable certifications that are actually legally required for sale to end users are the FCC part 15 electrical interference tests. Other than that, there are market requirements for schools / hospitals but those are not requirements for sale, but rather requirements for use in particular markets.
> The consumer does not have to know about UL labels or other safety markings. If the device doesn't have the required markings, the vendor is not allowed to sell them.
My point was that this isn't true. You can sell devices without UL safety stamps, there is no government regulation that says you can't. If your using the device in a certain context your fire inspector may call foul but that is completely different from a consumer not being able to purchase something because the "vendor is not allowed to sell them".
The benefits of the magsafe connector far outweigh the hazard in the uncommon scenario you've described. Those benefits are reaped over the entire life cycle of the machine itself. The hazard you're describing only occurs at the end of the life cycle of a relatively inexpensive and user-replacable subcomponent.
Design is very much about tradeoffs, but one would never trade off such vast benefits to ameliorate such a limited hazard.
Plus, you'd be using the hardware beyond its designed intent. This is very similar to never checking or changing the oil in your car, and complaining that the engine has seized after years of use. Just stop deferring basic system maintenance: go buy yourself a new battery!
I don't find it useful at all really. It's very neat but I've never had problems with the power plugs of any other laptop.
In fact I don't remember having a laptop charger break for any other reason. It's always the DC plug or cable.
I don't know if Apple hold significant patents on the idea, because I'd absolutely love to see it applied to other connectors, especially headphones and wired ethernet leads.
In my own opinion, Apple products are probably about 30% better than competitors, but probably have 20% less features, however because they're simply better, they can charge probably 70% more than competitors simply because a lot people want and are willing to pay for the quality.
(Please dont read into the figures i've just used, i pulled them out my arse, they're for illustration purposes only.)
Here's what has died on me just outside a year since 2006 MacBook pro (logic board failure), iMac (won't boot), a MacBook (won't charge), just about every damn usb cable they've ever given me (broken at type a connector), airport express (melted). A friend of mine's MacBook pro caught fire. I won't even bother to catalogue the 22 dead iPhones my company has...
My iPod nano and a 2009 macbook are still fine.
conversely, my circa 2007 Lenovo t61 cost around $100 2 years ago and has been dropped, yanked off tables and has a couple of drinks in it and it just stares at you and takes it. It had a new battery last year and a new power connector (self installed) with no problems as they have full service manuals available.
That's engineering and service.
(I am a qualified EE so will not comment on the initial article as it makes me squirm a bit)
To give a more useful metric, for the last 4 years I have maintained a company have about 150 machines. 50% are Macbook Pros. 50% are Lenovos. I saw, on average, 5-6 Lenovos have some sort of hardware failure per year. The Macbook Pros would see 1-2 hardware failures per year. The Macbook Pros were also giving about 6-12 months of extra life before needing to be replaced. The external packaging of the Lenovos would produce MUCH more wear year over year than the aluminum Macbook Pro.
Lucky you :)
I am a qualified EE so will not comment on the initial article as it makes me squirm a bit.
I'm not, though I did take a lot of EE classes in college, and I think the article is fine. He took the thing apart and noted which components Apple used. He's not telling anyone how to engineer their own power supply.
It's interesting to note that most cheap replacement chargers don't have significant safety issues but produce harmful EMI, on the other hand it's not too hard to find name brand power supply which have significant safety issues (eg. low impedance connection between otherwise unconnected ground of EMI filter on primary side and output ground), often caused by combination of safety, EMC and design/size requirements and weird interactions between them and between requirements of different jurisdictions (EMC, ESD and safety requirements of EU sometimes tend to be contradictory).
Bear in mind my Airport express melted and blew my circuit breakers so shorts are definitely a possibility.
I've seen literally thousands of Apple USB cables in my work, and, while they probably won't hold up against heavy abuse as well as a rubbery booted end, they tend to either be totally fine or fraying at the ends.
The funny thing is that people with fraying ends tend to have all their cables fraying, whereas those with undamaged cables tend to have all undamaged cables.
There's something about use case here where Apple's cables just don't hold up to common (mis?)use case by a subset of their users.
A $5 set of Sony earphones goes through several orders of magnitude more shearing, twisting and pulling and last years. Why can't apple do that?
Because it looks pretty before it has sound engineering.
Apple doesn't do it for everything for mainly aesthetic and packaging reasons - iOS 30 pin cables are much smaller than they used to be before the iPhone came out, to fit in even smaller packaging.
I'm sure there would be complaints about the "big, ugly cable" if Apple beefed up their cables ends, especially if the only benefit would be to the 20-30% of the population that is hard on their gear, and even in that case the enhanced durability would only increase the cable's lifespan slightly.
In the EU we have quite hefty electrical safety laws and I doubt it could be CE marked or approved in the UK at least based on the line voltage isolation.
(Also an EE by education if not by trade, though that doesn't really count here)
What the real story is, is how cheaply power supply circuits are generally done in consumer electronics. They cut all kinds of corners and are quite amazing and often frightening. I actually find the cheap, hideous designs more impressive in some ways.
Indeed. Mad Man Muntz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madman_Muntz) is alive and well and living in China.
Example: LED backlight cinema display? Neat! Then they cheap out using a glossy coating, not even a HUD, no scaler, no inputs, the worst stand in the market for a prosumer monitor etc. etc. etc. You'd think that a company claiming to be focusing on quality actually cares about ergonomics, but apple only care about looks and perceived quality. God knows how they can uphold that image when peoples devices fail constantly, I don't even know of anyone that own a working iPod anymore.
They can't even design the cooling for their laptops decently. They are hot and they are noisy (no margins at all), and it's not like you get anything in return. Buying an apple product you should just be happy if you can even exchange the battery.
As always, there is one thing they do right. On laptops it's the trackpad. But the rest just doesn't impress and is at best on par with the competition (but lacking the extra features (which isn't really a bad thing (most of the time) - but it makes you wonder what you pay for).
Apple has obviously gone to extra effort to reduce EMI interference, probably to keep the charger from interfering with the touchscreen
I've yet to encounter problems with any mobile phone during charging, so that makes you wonder whether apple uses a cheaper touchscreen than everyone else, or if other charges are just as good in regards to the EMI interference or if apple has higher margins than everyone else (which I highly doubt considering the problems apple create just to look good (cable strain relief springs to mind)).
It's nice to oversimplify for the sake of argument, but these kinds of non-reality based posts just show how polarizing Apple is.
Good design is important to most.
Oh, well in that case. Sigh.
Speakers, webcam and ambient light sensor... Those are the kind of non-features that you typically don't have to deal with on an apple product, if you care about a crappy webcam, inbuilt speakers in the monitor etc. you most certainly should buy a PC - they are crammed with useless stuff like that.
These kind of non-reality based post just shows just how blindly loyal the typical apple customer is.
(Oddly, I seem alone in this view. At Google, where a monitor stand is just a helpdesk ticket away, I've only seen about five other people that use them. Some people even use big stacks of paper to support their monitors. It's crazy!)
I also agree about Apple hardware running hot. I have a new mac mini on my desk and that thing is always very hot to the touch and often makes a lot of noise while under load. (To compare, I never hear a peep out of my generic 6-core tower, and that thing is always under heavy load.)
I don't think I've seen a cinema display with a monitor-arm, I'm a bit skeptic that people that buy the cinema display could ruin the aesthetics of the display with an arm (not that the cinema display is that good looking anyway).
I don't feel that an arm is needed when a good stand is included, and a good arm can easily cost as much as the monitor in the first place. Better to buy two monitors with good stands than one monitor with a crappy stand and an arm - in my opinion.
I really do not care how the connector sleeves look on my cables. I'd prefer them to last longer than a year or two.
On pricing, I don't have any figures but do not consider it out of line to consider an Apple product as being a durable replacement for several cheap plastic versions. An investment in OS X in the guise of a $1800 MacBook Pro could easily take the place of a $700, a $500 and a $600 laptop bought over the same period of time. By the end of the period the specs of the MacBook would be severely out of date, however in other respects its usage may be preferable to the usage of the new $600 laptop. If you are not comparing on this basis, Apple products may be up to 300% as expensive as their competition, again as shown by the laptop example.
These numbers are scientific, have high statistical confidence, and good to eighteen decimal places. I show them with only one or two significant figures, however the full figures are going through a process of peer review and should appear soon in the IEEE Spectrum. Or not...
I almost agree with you on Android/iPhone (though 6.5 times is a big, big exaggeration, more likely 40%), but absolutely disagree with you about OS X/Linux. To me (I don't do kernel debugging, but use tons of 'pro' development tools daily), they're on par, with Linux a tiny bit (a few percent) in the lead. OS X is more shiny and is more pleasant to use as a development machine, but in Linux your hands are freeer.
That's exactly the problem. I don't want to write formulas. Just as on Linux I don't have to write RPMs - I just download them and install them. Yes, I can write a formula. Yes, it is not hard (in 90% of the cases). But it takes time, and I don't have extra time for it. And it takes learning yet another thing, which I don't need - and I have enough things to learn already that I do need.
I don't want to spend mental energy on it - I just want it to work. Linux achieved it, to a great degree, and Mac OS X still didn't.
They offer degrees in using a smartphone? Amazing that I've been able to get along with one for so long.
That's why people who otherwise make >$30 an hour will line up for 30 minutes for gas to save maybe $3 when they hear gas prices will go up the next day.
That's also why your relatives think nothing of your time before asking you waste several hours of your precious time to help fix their malware infested PC.
In almost every case the time spent doing those things (queueing for gas or fixing someone's PC) could, or better yet, would not have otherwise been spent making >$30/hour.
You could make the case (for argument's sake) that someone who works 8h/day for $30/h and sleeps 8h/day has an an awake time value of $15/h.
While this is definitely a frivolous and arbitrary calculation, it can be a useful metric for a busy person to figure out what his/her time is worth in terms of prioritizing activities. For example, waiting 30 minutes in line to save $3 in gas vs waiting 2 minutes and not getting the $3 savings.
Those 28 minutes could have been spent doing something else, such as quality time with the kids (priceless?), etc.
Strain reliefs are used because you have to assume that users will apply strain in every direction imaginable, and some that aren't.
I've had the same problem with all apple cables. Design over substance.
So, uhm, I’m not exactly sure what you want. Why are you so convinced that this updated design will also fail?
Well, it'd be nice if the high-$$$ Apple cable were as reliable as the one on the latest $1.99 gray-market gadget off the boat from Shenzen.
And the sound is really annoying.
Does anyone know of a good disassembly of 'MiniDisplay_Port/Thunderbolt -> VGA/HDMI/DVI/...', or 'iPad Smart Cover' (like this one) that justifies their premium price?
Samsung produces a similar product with components costing about $1 lower than Apple's. However, Apple sells their charger for $20 more.
But is it an accurate analysis when considering the costs of R&D?
As an example, Dropbox may invest $X in their product so that they could deliver $Y, but Box.net is more expensive... So if they make more money they must be exploiting us, right? Of course not... we hope :)
In this case it seems clear, Apple appears to have some unique R&D in this component... which may justify a (albeitly unknown) premium for the product.
Is the price right? I'm not sure. But they certainly seem to have an interesting edge with the tech.
That said (and the real point of my thought), I do wonder why we in the tech world place such a difference in R&D between HW and SW. If a HW company finds a niche, and does interesting tech, we still seem to devalue it compared to SW Dev (yes there are exceptions, but as a rule we seem to throw HW under the bus).
What's the difference? Why are these dichotomies acceptable in the software world but not the hardware world?
If Apple delivers a product that (apparently - without considering or understanding the actual R&D cost) costs less than competitors it's a problem... But in the SW world we barely bat an eye.
Is R&D and creativity in HW design is a valid cost?
Anyway, I'm not harping on your comment (which is valid in it's own right); I'm just curious and interested in the apparent difference in SW and HW innovations...
There are two kinds of DisplayPort adapters, some which have are active devices that have a chip that does the conversion, and some which are passive that rely on the computer/video card to output the other formats. All of Apple's are the former.
I tend to get my converters from MonoPrice which is far less expensive than from Apple.
I've seen at least 2 iPhones breaking beyond repair just by falling.
My SGSII flew around 4 or 5 times, not a scratch. It does look and feel cheap though. So do Lenovo ribcage plastics as opposed to aluminium shells.
I doubt this. Nothing in the iPhone is beyond repair.
I think it's worth the price tag. Guaranteed clean and even 5v power is extremely useful. I use that cube to charge everything. Phones, Kindle, etc.
PS: I'm not an electronics engineer so please educate me, on why this "filtered" and "cleaner" power supply is necessary to charge a phone?
My totally hypothetical theory is that Steve Jobs tried a prototype charger, the touch screen didn't work well, and he said to do whatever is necessary to make sure that didn't happen again.
(edit: more info)
I found a possible reason yesterday, it was a duplicate of http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3699293
Damn, you are dead since 3 days thanks to this: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4027951 . And you are much more active than I am.
Apple says they will follow the EU guidelines and then they ship a crappy Apple-to-USB adapter in the box...
Looking at a pin-out table, it seems it also does (or can do) video (composite / s-video), audio, and has pin(s) for adapters.
USB doesn't do that. I have an Android phone, which is perfectly nice, but it's just not as capable as the iPhone - it doesn't have these capabilities, because it just has USB.
Apple solve the manufacturing problem by having one port on the device to do the job. This also serves an aesthetic purpose. The adapter that Apple have produce to ensure compliance with the EU regulation as actually an excellent solution to the problem. I would also argue that the regulation suffers from typical political myopia in that it only really considers the notion of charging a device.
Sure. Right on, man.
>The micro USB format does not do the same thing. It does a few similar things.
I never claimed they do the same thing. I said it's capable of doing the same things with MHL wired to it.
>I don't understand why an adapter from Apple is inadequate.
Didn't say it is, I just find it funny that there are excuses for Apple not going with the interoperable standard and instead going with something that only they produce and can gouge you for.
There is a legitimate argument to be made that there is simply more bandwidth available in their connector, but I don't know of any peripheral that utilizes it that wouldn't work perfectly fine with USB.
Sorry for questioning the genius of Apple following NIH policy. I won't question them in the future or wish they would go with industry standards and interop.
The 'v' button does not mean, "I disagree". It doesn't mean "This makes my opinion right over his, without needing to justify it". Assholes.
As to the votes, I personally don't have the karma to do it and wouldn't if I did. I guess they are coming because of the petulant and rude tone of your comments.
I am not saying only Apple could do this. Amazon has even bigger trust from me. I would still buy books from them even it is a little more expensive just because I have very few trouble over the years with them.
Apple chargers are one thing which I like to buy used; especially for magsafe, I haven't found any counterfeits. Being able to have 10 extra chargers around home/office saves a lot of hassle, and when they're $25 it's reasonable to do that.
When Apple ships a charger that makes iPhone touchscreens work poorly, customers get irritated and either figure it out and cost Apple money at the Genius Bar or don't figure it out and don't buy iPhones.
The higher price is because people are willing to pay it.
Certainly, some of their employees care a lot. And in Silicon Valley, the people building this stuff have a lot of options. Apple has managed to attract a bunch of people who like making great stuff. Some of those people would find jobs they liked more if Apple tried to make things that were too junky.
The blue "Y" capacitor reminded me of
Kind of adds to the magic of those charges :).