Apple is now selling a wireless charging pad for its smartwatch. The $79 plate not only demonstrates Cupertino's commitment to design, it also confirms its habit of ripping off people. The magnetic charging dock is a small circular pad that the Watch can be placed on to recharge. It will only work with Apple's smartwatch, …
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I'm with Woz on this; market forces prevent the best possible device from being offered to users. That said:
All iWatch owners are iPhone users. Therefore it doesn't bother iWatch owners if their charging matt doesn't charge Samsung phones.
That seems a fairly straightforward logic... the way the article wilfully ignores the idea it comes across like a Daily Express article about Billy Connelly.
>are instead forced to front up for the dubious pleasure of the £80 white teaplate.
Forced? No, you're not forced, just don't buy an Apple Watch. If you do, the Apple Charger Dock is £65, not £80. And even then the Apple website will sell you a 3rd party dock solution that uses the original charger.
"All iWatch owners are iPhone users. Therefore it doesn't bother iWatch owners if their charging matt doesn't charge Samsung phones"
Great for you Dave. I'm sure you must live alone and rarely travel anywhere. However some people don't they have multiple gadget which may use a standardised platform, such as Qi. So rather than buying a couple of wireless chargers that you can use with any device, you now need to buy separate ones to look after the "precious".
Then you go travelling and the wireless chargers they provide in hotels or clubs etc. Do they
1) Just provide Qi so that all standard devices can charge
2) Just provide Apple Qi so only Applites can charge
3) Have to provide both in every area with instructions on which one to use
Say Samsung pull the same trick and you now need a Samsung charger, and then Blackberry, and LG and HP laptops and Pebble etc
There's a reason for having a standard and when people deviate it just makes it crap for everyone. Remember IE6 (and previous incarnations), we are only just getting over the legacy that left now.
As for dangerous, is there any reported case of a wireless charger harming a device? It is very easy to safeguard a device in wireless charging. So what if the £10 charger burns the user, they have the complaint with the seller not with Apple - they could still attempt to charge their Apple watch with a £10 charger and burn themselves regardless of whether it charges the watch or not. It's different to a mains charger where the phone itself could go up in smoke.
@Dave 126 There must be households with a mixed bag of technology that would benefit from a generic charging system rather than a proprietary system that only caters for one manufacturers kit. Also what about public places like airports and hotels.
The $10 Qi chargers on eBay are garbage. They don't work well, if they work at all, and reviews suggest they might be a fire hazard. So let's not compare apples to oranges.
An Apple Watch replacement cable is $30, we all know these can fray and break. A wireless charger should be able to last as long as the device itself, considering there is no mechanical interaction with the user. Apple sells a wireless replacement, with (in this case) a $50 premium over the cable.
If Apple were to sell these for $30, they would cannibalize their own replacement cable sales.
You're attempting to justify Apple ripping off its customers by saying they ripoff their customers by giving crap cables anyway?
I think it's more that Apple feel that if you can afford to pay £350 for a... well, Watch that displays the time and text messages - like £30 Bluetooth ones do then you'll probably go for a plate to put it on.
Like the £100 car mats dealers provide. But at least you can eBay for cheap car mats if you want to without you car dying on you half way through the day because they're deemed 'incompatible'
Probably the same reason that they won't let any old cable charge an iPhone. And there are reasons other than protectionism: Apple don't want to provide support for devices that have been affected by knock-off chargers. And they certainly want to minimise the number of reports where their equipment burns someone to death.
It's not really about the money. If you recall, there was a spate of iPhone 'accidents' a while back caused by cheap third party charging equipment. Apple offered replacement authorised (and safety-compliant) chargers for a handful of dollars to affected users. They certainly weren't making any money on that.
I see no reason that Apple should not maximize their income from those who are sufficiently enamored of their products that they continue to buy them. I have a PowerMac 8500 (gift) that still works and an even older Apple 68000 based computer that I think still boots, and mostly have been favorably impressed by their design and build quality (but less so with their prices). I gave up on them for good when, having obtained numerous patents that seem quite bogus, they went on to use them as a basis to sue for damages while ingesting huge amounts of money.
Those in thrall will pay the required price fairly willingly; that is their choice. The rest of us can go about our lives not caring very much.
>Those in thrall will pay the required price fairly willingly; that is their choice. The rest of us can go about our lives not caring very much.
True, you can, or could, but not all of "the rest" go about their lives "not caring very much"; there is, evidently, a vocal contingent among "the rest" who do care--very much, it seems--and can't give it a rest and just shut up about it. And they can reliably be called into action because conditioning is well understood. They're called 'twitchers', IIRC.
I cannot think of a single reason that I, or anyone else not an owner of the equipment in question, should care what Apple charges for it. Money is generally understood as a measure of the economic concept of utility, but in actuality, two different people see that in exactly the same way. Among other things, that facilitates commerce. Purchasers of Apple products have a different view of their utility than I do, for reasons I do not know and do not wish to. They are free to act on their view of the products' utility, as I am not to act. It is their business, not mine. I am not entitled to an opinion in the matter and neither, in my opinion, is anyone else.
>Don't forget the chip in the iPod headphones to ensure idiot apple buyers could only use official iPod headphones.
Oh yeah, Apple 'idiot buyers' who enjoy the largest range of 3rd party wired headsets from Sennheiser to Kilpsch... ohhh, the morons!
But seriously, 'Feature phones' from the time of the first iPhone didn't even usually feature a 3.5mm headphone socket. Even left to themselves, Android phones don't have a standard for wired headsets with remote controls... shit, even within brands they mess it up; Sony used two different resistances across Android phone generations (they are better now, the Z series now allow stereo microphones, even). If Android vendors, or even Google bashed their heads together, sorted this nonsense out then yeah, i might have an issue with Apple.
As it is, I'm just an Android user who can't believe the stupidity. Those of us who don't use Apple would do better expressing the things we want done better, instead of lobbing stones.
It's 2015 - where the hell is my one-click whole phone back-up and restore?! (Android does contacts, but apps and SMS messages require more effort)
Motorola do that.
Got my moto x play, put it on the same wifi as my Nexus 4, installed the moto transfer app on the nexus 4, away it went. An hour later my new phone was set up exactly like my old phone, photos, apps, SMS etc. intact.
Though I did have to sign into my apps again, but that's fair enough, I'd rather random apps not be able to copy that data.
Finally, a proper answer to iCloud! When I switched from iOS to Android this was the only serious thing I missed, although it has gradually improved since Android 4. Now all I'd have to do is 1) wait for an Android 6 build for my phone (probably via Cyanogenmod) and 2) for all my favourite apps to support the latest API version :-\
Anybody who buys anything Apple knows it will be reassuringly expensive. They already have an iPhone to work the Apple Watch, so they know how much cables cost. If you read the comments on some of the websites (for a laugh) you will see people boasting that they earn so much that buying Apple is small change, they don't care how much it costs.
It isn't as if there were not lots of phone shops offering a variety of kit for different budgets.
I don't own anything Apple, but the whole point of Veblen goods is that the buyers feel validated, not screwed.
"buying Apple is small change, they don't care how much it costs."
There is a marketing technique that dictates buyers have a false assumption that paying more, will get them more.
Look at how the suppliers work with Amazon. They all compete with each other of course, but not in the way you think. They mark the prices UP, taking advantage of the very false assumption of the buyer, that they will get something better. Even when you're dealing with the exact same product, there is the perception that something more for their money, like shipping will be faster. It won't.
As well-designed as their products are, they just so obviously design everything to extract every last nickel they can get out of you. My Android phone comes with a free mini-USB-based charger, based on a standard. I could take that same mini-USB charger and charge pretty much any non-Apple smartphone. If I were to buy an iPhone, I would need a proprietary Lightning charger that I have to buy for $20-$25.
It's just too much of a racket. I can understand the business value of being able to walk into a meeting room with Tim Cook or Steve Jobs and say "Boss! Good news! I've figured out how to increase our phone hardware sales by 4% or so by embracing a proprietary charger design!" Though I am not an expert on smartphone charging, I can accept that perhaps the Lightning charger does a better job than a mini-USB charger. However, I feel like a chump that is being taken for granted when I shell out extra $$ for something that just seems more intentionally designed to drain my wallet rather than charge my phone.
Given the unreliable nature of the MagSafe chargers as supplied with and from the first generation Intel macbooks I am not going to be surprised if/when any Apple designed charger turns out to be less than perfect.
A macbook bought in 2008 is now on its third (generic MagSafe) charger after the first two Apple branded ones failed. Failed as in just stopped working one day without any warning as opposed to the more usual failure brought on by the cable fraying where it enters the MagSafe connector. We have started buying the cheapest generic chargers with the best rating on Amazon as the Apple chargers seem to be no more reliable, just more expensive.
As a contrast two EEEPCs, one bought in 2008 and the second in 2009 (with similar uptimes to the macbook) are still running their original chargers.
I can accept that perhaps the Lightning charger does a better job than a mini-USB charger.
It doesn't. It's just a regular USB charger, albeit better built than some of the really cheap stuff. It's the cable that's proprietry (and more expensive).
However, I feel like a chump that is being taken for granted when I shell out extra $$ for something that just seems more intentionally designed to drain my wallet rather than charge my phone.
Meh, I wouldn't worry about it too much. 'Apple stuff is more expensive' is just one of the decisions you've got to factor in when buying stuff. Some people are fine with it, some aren't. Horses for courses really.
Lightning chargers are clearly better. They are reversible, thinner, and more robust, than micro-USB. Furthermore, lightning has now been engineered to support USB 3.0 (with the iPad Pro). Have you seen the micro-USB 3.0? It is a step backwards, comparable in size to the legacy Apple iPhone connector that made its final appearance on the iPhone 4s. The micro-USB 3.0 is on the Galaxy Note 3, it's big, it's fugly.
That's an ugly socket, but the important point is that it's backwardly compatible with your old micro-USB stuff. Basically two sockets side by side (nowhere near as big as the original ipod one though).
Shortly to be replaced with USB-C on pretty much every new phone that isn't made by Apple though. Small, reversible and all that good stuff
NO. They are not.
I have dozens of micro USB connectors from all sorts of products and a few Amazon purchases. All bar one are still working perfectly and have done since the day they were bought many years ago.
Every lightning cable I've had the displeasure of trying to use was flaky. Half were broken, and the other half were on the way out. A useless pile of kerrap.
Aye, just when we thought that we could relax with micro-USB, we now have USB-C on the horizon... the one thing to look forward to is that it, like Lightening, can be plugged in either way up. That alone, for me, makes it worth phasing out my micro-USB gubbins.
@MD Rackham - to be fair, 'twas ever thus with companies on the left side of the pond flogging their wares in dear old Blighty. ISTR people making much the same comment about dollar prices simply having the currency indicator switched from $ to £ back in the days when the Amiga was the best home computer on the planet.
Whilst it is expensive please allow me a moment to correct you
The UK Price is with 20% VAT
The US price is always quoted BEFORE State Sales TAX. Only in places like Delaware that have 0% Sales Tax, is the advertised price the price you pay if you walk into a store and buy stuff.
Many US companies still use $1 === £1 as the exchange rate. Apple does not and is nowhere near the worst offender but we all like to take pot stots at Apple so
Carry On (slagging off Apple)
It makes good reading these dark mornings.
The Watch isn't a bargain-bin article to begin with.
So, it makes sense to price the charging dock accordingly.
Everybody does this.
It's probably as overpriced as e.g. any car beyond the sophistication-level of a Dacia Logan.
People spend insane amounts of money on car- (and motorbike) related purchases (and taxes, insurance) - and if you ask them, why they bought an Audi, a BMW or a Lexus or whatever they'll say something along the lines of "It's nicer".
Do you guys go to car-forums and flame the Mercedes and BMW owners (who, more often than not, haven't even bought the cars, but are leasing or financing them...) over their taste and their (assumed) lack of taste?
The problem is not the price of the device, it's going out of their way to make sure it cannot be replaced by the numerous alternatives that are cheaper and already widespread.
That's like Audi making sure you can only fill up with the extra-expensive fuel they sell in very few locations.
Well, you can buy special BMW tyres if you like. You don't *have* to. And they're not necessarily made by BMW. They're a bit extra, but there's no real difference, and you can fit non-BMW tyres if you so desire.
And you can fill up at a special pump too, if you really want to pay extra. But you don't have to. Any old petrol will do so long as it conforms to the BS (or the equivalent EU standard as it is now).
Actually BMW does exactly the same thing. A battery for a BMW is $500 (FIVE HUNDRED FRIGGIN DOLLARS for a battery). You can't just go to Sears and and get a Diehard like you can for every other car brand you have to get a BMW battery which has a chip in it that has to be programmed by the dealer.
I had a BMW 330d for several years. I do remember changing the battery once. I don't remember having to go to BMW to get a special one, I'm pretty sure I bought it on a shelf in a supermarket, like all the others I've had to buy in my life.
There may be some special battery requirement for hybrid vehicles, but I can vouch that the bog-standard BMW diesel engine will accomodate your supermarket battery of the proper voltage without issue.
Hybrid,I'm assuming as AFAIK standard cars have standard battery.
Hybrids are different breed and those batteries aren't standard batteries either and capacity is many times of a standard battery, thus very expensive.
I recall (possibly wrong) that Prius battery pack was (few years ago) like $5k.
The traction battery is a very finicky beast and costs around $2k to replace. The 12V battery which boots up the computer and runs the electrics when the traction battery / inverter is disconnected is a slightly odd Japanese job of around just 35Ah, but you can get off the shelf versions for £35 that work just fine though they might have to be ordered in as the terminals are reversed in position to the usual. There's a slight difference with the Toyota version in that it has a hole for a gas bleed vent, as it is housed in the rear compartment which is in a continuous airspace with the cabin. But that's just overkill really. I've driven mine for years without the vent plug in and it's never had any artichoke aubergine banana jambalayas.
This is BS. There's no chip in the battery. The BMW diagnostics software is required to reset the battery in the ECU. This is so it knows to calibrate the charge rates. They do coulomb counting which only really works well if the ECU knows when the battery has been changed.
I would never buy a new car but I've had maybe 10 2nd hand ones including a couple of BMWs. They're actually great value as many owners don't want them when the new models come out. There aren't many other companies selling 300hp+ RWD cars in the UK.
The mugs are the people buying them new and paying £2-3000 for the M Sport, S Line or AMG badging. The is simply a money making exercise for brand whores.
and don't forget the BMW sat navs
The £1000 to have it in your car. So far, so expensive - but you'd spreadh the cost over some years, and recoup some in the resale cost.
However: £400 to update the maps? Really?
When a £200 touch screen device comes with lifetime mapping?
so: not only Apple.
"Do you guys go to car-forums and flame the Mercedes and BMW owners"
No need, it's been observed for far longer that owners of these car brands tend to be a*holes...
Nobody is criticising people wanting well designed objects, devices, even cars. It's 'Fashionista religion' that surrounds such brands that many people find objectionable.
Especially in cases like this when the glued on pedigree plate is peeled off, revealing cheap tat in a minimalistic white finish....
I don't find the fashionista bit all that bad. People will pay for this or that or a brand or a feature. It's human nature and it's not my job to protect them from this or from themselves.
What I find outrageous about this is Apple deviating from an established standard. Deliberately. And non-interoperably. And for no good reason other than ker-ching!
Yep, you don't understand all right.
This isn't about an Apple exclusive technology that they - along with every other manufacturer of goods - are perfectly entitled to price according to what their market will bear.
This is about packing up standard technology in a way that intentionally and deliberately breaks interoperability that the technology is specifically intended to provide in order that they can then over-charge for their particular product and ensure that the consumer has no choice but to use that proprietised version.
It would be like Mercedes and BMW making wheel rims that could not accept industry standard tires so that you are then forced to buy tires from them and charging 4 times the price of the same rubber from Tires-R-Us AND putting a proprietary valve on them so that you had to get them pumped up at Mercedes or BMW approved Tire Inflation Service Outlets.
Why ? Because Mercedes and BMW's owners are used to paying more for the products so it's only right that they continue to pay more for industry standard "accessories" for those products ?
Very strange. My usual practice is to not buy the thing when I don't approve of the way the marketing wonks have set the prices. That's why I wouldn't buy an apple watch. Nor would I buy a BMW.
But then I figure it's their choice to set their prices the way they want and the buyers are free to spend their money, eyes-open, the way they want.
Sometimes these sorts of articles are invitations to the shared outrage-fest of flaming-group entertainment at the expense of someone else.
Or, in short, "who gives a steaming shite?". Don't buy it if you don't want it. Must be a slow news day at the Reg.
"The Watch isn't a bargain-bin article to begin with.
So, it makes sense to price the charging dock accordingly.
Everybody does this."
Blantant lie. Everyone else is selling standard-conforming chargers, so no, Apple is the only one who doesn't.
"It's probably as overpriced as e.g. any car beyond the sophistication-level of a Dacia Logan.
People spend insane amounts of money on car- (and motorbike) related purchases (and taxes, insurance) - and if you ask them, why they bought an Audi, a BMW or a Lexus or whatever they'll say something along the lines of "It's nicer"."
False logic again: Those cars last longer, are quieter, more comfortable and much better to drive than Dacia: Very real and useful differences: You get what you paid for: Borked QI isn't any better than non-borked, but _worse_.
Also cars aren't a standard product like QI, very bad comparison to start with.
I have much better comparison: Apple is basically selling nuts and bolts with their own thread (with 20 times the price) and claiming it's better for the users: Nothing more, nothing less.
No-one else is doing that because they aren't idiots: Standards exists for a very good reason.
Just had a quick look at the store at both the watch and the charger, I cannot see it stated that the wireless technology used is Qi so not really sure what the fuss is about, if they stated it used the Qi charging standard I could see a problem, but right now, its just an expensive charging plate that too many fools will gladly part with their money for, I see they do have a lovely replacement rubber strap for their watch for "only" $49, the prices after that are not even worth quoting though.
"Just had a quick look at the store at both the watch and the charger, I cannot see it stated that the wireless technology used is Qi so not really sure what the fuss is about"
Apple took existing proven technology - didn't enhance it in any way - and made sure the charger can work with only Apple Watch and vice versa. If the charger could charge the battery faster then there would be less fuss.
The only reason was to maximize profits. It doesn't make the user experience one iota better for the Apple Watch users, and if, for example, a same household has an Apple Watch and non-Apple gear with Qi tech then additional chargers are needed. The Qi chargers are widely available in many forms, even Ikea has furniture with charging built-in, since any modern phone, pad or wearables can be depleted in a single day.
Outside Apple territory the Micro USB is a universal way to charge phones and tablets. I find that way better than say, 5 years ago when each manufacturer made damn sure to have their own connectors for charging or data. How about you?
Even allowing for GST that's inflated WAY above the forex rate and is especially galling when it comes to Apple products given that it isn't explained by shipping costs since they all ship from Hong Kong, whether they go to the US or NZ.
I once had the great joy of watching an iPad ordered from the US store as the shipment tracker showed it going from Hong Kong across the Pacific to a US forward shipping address in Oregon [provided by the postal service operator in NZ] and then back again to here in NZ.
Even with the shipping US > NZ (the shipping to the US was "free") I still saved 30% on ordering the exact same item from the NZ store which would have been shipped from the exact same warehouse in Hong Kong!
(NOTE: The Apple Store [US} now detects and refuses to ship to that forwarding shipping address)
Time for the (rather toothless) NZ Commerce Commission to investigate - oh wait, we're a "free enterprise" state here, so no way will this happen!
Oh, and of course Apple make almost zero profit in New Zealand, pay almost no corporate tax, yet the prices we pay are way higher than other places, even though all the product ships from the same place. Maybe the IRD could take a look at that?
I'd love to pretend to be surprised about this but I'm not. I'd quite like to get on my high horse about it but given how much the keyboard for the Surface Pro I am typing this on cost, I can't really. However deliberately crippling a standard is the sort of thing MS have been slated for many times over the years, with plenty of justification. Anyone with enough disposable income to buy an Apple Watch is likely to want the matching charging plate, but the fact it won't charge anything else is pretty poor.
As much as Qi is supposed to be a standard my Lumia 925 won't charge on the pad I use for my Nexus 7, although the Nexus 7 will charge on the Nokia charging pad.
One of the reasons I now refuse to purchase any Apple iGadgets is this bullshit they keep dumping all over their customers. When I quit, it was because they kept changing plugs or even the spacing between plugs for no valid reason other than forcing people to purchase new accessories. Because the previous accessories didn't work even though it was exactly the same tech, just in a slightly different physical form. This just confirms I was right to stop feeding that particular troll.
I'll keep buying products that mostly work with non-proprietary add-ons. Apple lost that plot years ago.
You think you jest; but last Christmas some people I know were in Selfridges and laughed at an iPhone covered in "diamonds" and priced at around £13000. They were just speculating on what kind of iDiot (tm) would want that when a Chinese man walked in and bought one.
We Applocrats use char-filtered iLectricity, you twerp! And while we're at it: Go on then, rooting for the Reliant Robins and Morris Minors of timekeeping and information technology, while Applistas, with each new Qi-saucer, step further ahead into a gleaming white future that will remain out of reach for the penny-pinchers, mortgage-payers and similar underperformers of this world. Apploids spend more, because spending more is a way of life, because spending is the essence of our entitlement eternal!
What is it with all the complaints about apple chargers fraying? I have laptops that are a decade old (or older) and the chargers are in fine shape. Same story for phones too? Designed obsolescence? Or strictly money grubbing?
You would think for the premium Apple charge they could pony up for some slightly larger gauge wire and housing for their product.
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