Good post by John Gruber over on Daring Fireball. Apart from this bit:
Prior to Lightning, USB connectors were both unidirectional (one side was up, the other down) and ungainly.
This is surprisingly untrue. I backed a project on Kickstarter a few years ago called Quickdraw 2.0 which featured a reversible USB-A connector.
I could not believe that this was possible with USB-A and had not been taken advantage of (at least not in a cable I'd come across) before. From their campaign page:
Which way do you plug this cable in? Any way! A reversible USB has been the most requested feature and we have finally been able to get MFi approval so have now been able to include it in the Quickdraw 2.0. Now your cable will always plug in first time and every time. No more fumbling behind your computer or with your wall plug. This is a very little and simple thing but Oh! does it make life easier. We promise you will love this.
Overall, I do agree with Gruber that these mandates are unlikely to lead to more innovation. I do, however, remember the state of mobile phone chargers at the turn of the century where even a single manufacturer would have different chargers for different models of phones.
I don't think any cable I had was reusable with a new device until they started to take advantage of Micro-USB ports.
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