Apple snuck in another new product Tuesday, but it isn’t nearly as flashy as anything else it unveiled. The new Apple iPhone Micro USB Adapter is a small add-on that plugs into any iPhone (except for the orignal version) via the dock connector and allows for charging and syncing using a micro USB cable.
The adapter has so far only shown up in Apple Stores from EU-member countries, since it’s clearly designed to bring Apple into compliance with recently passed EU standards for common cell phone charger standards (via TUAW). It retails for around €9 (roughly $12 USD) and ships separately from the iPhone. While it’s a bit disappointing that Apple didn’t just package the adapter with the iPhone 4S in the box, it’s more disappointing that Apple isn’t just making this available everywhere.
Even as a North American iPhone user, I’d love to have the option to pick one of these up. More and more devices are shipping with micro USB cables, including Amazon’s Kindle, many Bluetooth headsets and other electronic devices. Micro USB cables are also relatively easy to get your hands on, whereas dock connector to USB cables, especially off-brand, can be harder to find, especially when not shopping online.
A micro USB adapter would make keeping iOS devices charged a much simpler affair, especially for gadget fans with a considerable device collection. Ideally, Apple would replace the dock connector entirely with a standard connection interface, but that would mean rendering a whole lot of accessories useless, and I doubt Apple’s planning to do that anytime soon.
Apple might be offering the micro USB adapter just to comply with EU regulations, but while it’s doing that, it might as well offer them over here, too. There might be financial reasons that prevent Apple from doing so, but I’d buy one, and I’m sure there are plenty of other multi-device owners who would, too.