A few weeks ago I upgraded from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 5. Although similar in many aspects to the previous model, some cool differences do exist: With the iPhone5 you have a bigger screen, internet browsing is faster, you can snap pictures while capturing video, you can take sweet panaromic shots, and the battery lasts longer. These improvements definitely enhances the newest Apple product and helps to continue the impressive trend of the company’s products continually getting better with each new released model. However, with the iPhone 5 there is one difference that while beneficial for the company, is very detrimental to the consumer…
The iPhone 5 requires a charger that is different from all previous models. Discontinuing something we probably all took for granted, if you purchase an iPhone 5 you will no longer be able to use the charger that you used before for your iPhone, iPod, and iPad. The new charger is equipped with a much different and smaller connector. Although a few different reasons have been given for why Apple has made this move, the most common one I have heard is that the company is trying to protect against knockoff Chinese companies capitalizing off of Apple’s success by duplicating chargers and selling them for much less. This problem has gone on for a long time now and has reached a point where you could buy chargers online for a couple bucks.
Now whereas a lot of people have gotten extremely angry that Apple would issue a new charger and help combat against the millions of dollars they were losing, I personally don’t blame them one bit. How can you blame a company for trying to protect its product? Sure it sucks to have to pay for the original product rather than a dramatically reduced priced imitator but if it was your business you would do the same thing. However, if you are going to take the knockoff brands out of business, you need to make sure that the original product is readily available. This is definitely not the case with the new iPhone 5 charger. Let me explain.
I carry my phone charger everywhere I go. For whatever reason (most likely my constant texting, Tweeting, and Instagramming) , the battery life on my charger can’t even get me through the day. Consequently, I am always plugging in my charger at the most random spots. Last Thursday while in North Dakota I realized my charger was not in my pocket. After backtracking in my head all the places I had been that day, I came to grips that my charger was gone. It is one thing to not have your phone while at home, but it is a whole other thing not to have it while traveling. I felt stranded.
Feeling some relief that I could just go to the nearby Verizon store to pick a new one up, I calmly walked into the store thinking that I would soon be catching up on what I had missed while my phone was dead. Wrong. The two guys working in the store told me that Apple had made it a mission not to distribute mass numbers of the iPhone 5 chargers and that their location would not be getting any for a long time. I got the exact same story from the across the street AT&T store. Knowing that I just had to suck it up I figured that I would wisely conserve the energy of my phone once I got the chance to borrow someone else’s charger. When the football team arrived I used the charger of one of our assistant coaches. The charge lasted me up until we got into Missoula on Saturday night.
Sunday morning I scoured Missoula looking for an iPhone 5 charger. Same story from the stores I visited…Apple had not released them to their locations yet. I sent out Facebook posts and Tweets asking my friends with iPhone 5’s if they would kindly lend me their charger so I could get my phone functioning. Although it entailed me driving out of the way to pick up the charger and then driving out of the way to return it later that night, a friend of mine answered the call. However, knowing that I could not function like this much longer, I knew I had to do something.
In a last resort type of deal, I called my mom in Spokane and asked her if she could visit the Apple store in Spokane to see if they had any iPhone 5 chargers in stock. My kind mother went all the way to the downtown location to check for me and lo and behold, she managed to grab the last one off the shelf. She sent off the charger in today’s mail and I am eagerly expecting it to arrive in my mailbox on Wednesday.
I believe Apple needs to distribute iPhone 5 chargers to every store that carries such accessories. While I can see past them changing the charger, I can’t accept them limiting its availability. For many, the iPhone 5 is a big investment. Without a charger, the device is absolutely useless. I don’t know the exact motives for restricting the sale of these things but I do know that people will always lose them. It is easy to do. Many of us are more than willing to immediately shell out the cash to purchase a replacement charger. You would think Apple would be willing to accommodate our power needs in exchange for our money. I really hope iPhone 5 chargers hit the shelves in mass quantities very soon.
Although very tough at times with my phone dead, it has also been a good exercise in patience and self-control. I have learned to just tell myself that my phone is currently unavailable and I should stop grabbing for it because it is not going to do anything for me. I have also found a level of peace with not feeling the pressure to constantly check my device and return text after text. But who am I kidding, it kills me when my phone is dead and my little piece of brilliant technology can be of no help to me. I can’t wait for Wednesday to come.
So if you are reading this and wondering why I might not be getting back to you as quickly as normal, you now know the reason. For those of you who are still lucky enough to have your iPhone 5 charger in your possession make sure to count your blessings and guard that cord with your life. Hope your week is off to a great start! Don’t Blink.