Apple iPhone 5 Gets a Micro-USB Port, Thanks to New Adapter

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Lightning AdapterIt looks like Apple is introducing another adapter that will play nice with its new smaller dock connector, dubbed the Lightning, bringing a micro-USB connection to the iPhone 5. Though it appears only our friends across the pond will see this dongle, as Apple is currently selling the device on its U.K. website.

The new Lightning to micro-USB adapter will let users charge and sync their new iPhone 5, iPod Touch, or iPod Nano, offering a convenient alternative to people who have an assortment of micro-USB cables collecting dust. Available only in Apple’s online store in the U.K. and other European countries, the device is meant as a loophole to the European Commission’s 2010 legislation about standardized ports.

The ruling picked micro-USB as the official standard, requiring that all smartphones available in Europe be chargeable via the port. Given that Apple prefers its own proprietary connectors, the new Lightning to micro-USB adapter is a nice workaround for the company.

While the accessory is not as convenient as having an actual micro-USB port on the iPhone 5, it does provide an easier solution for smartphone users who carry around duplicate cables. The U.K. store is currently selling the adapter for £15 ($24) and will ship in three days, while the French and German stores offer the same shipping estimate and a price the extra at €19.

Despite Apple not officially selling the device Stateside, people in the U.S. can still purchase the adapter from the European sites, if they are willing to shell out some extra cash for taxes and shipping. Though it will likely only be a matter of time before the dongle starts popping up on eBay and similar services, which might be the cheaper option.

More on the Lightning

Unveiled along with the next-generation iPhone, the Lightning dock connector is much smaller and narrower than the standard 30-pin connector. Apple touts the new feature as more durable than the older dock connector, which the company used for nine years, as well as more user-friendly, being able to be plugged in either orientation. The Cupertino-based company introduced a Lightning to 30-pin adapter at the event, though cautioned customers that not all 30-pin devices will work with the $29 adapter.

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