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Apple Didn’t Include a USB-A to USB-C with the iPad Pro?

UPDATE today at 1:15pm Pacific
One thing that I should have put in this post…somewhere…was that I love this iPad Pro. The display is beautiful, the machine is FAST, and the Apple Pencil always being charged-up is a big win.

Glad I bought it.

On the day you could order the new iPad Pro 11 inch for 2018, I enthusiastically ordered mine as soon as I had a moment to do so and it arrived yesterday about 3pm. With the Smart Keyboard Folio, the 2nd generation Apple Pencil, and the iPad Pro 11″ 1TB model, my total with tax was $2,167.54.

Unbeknownst to me when I began to open the iPad’s packaging, that enthusiasm would soon turn to disappointment and then outright anger! Especially since I’d intended to set this new iPad Pro up and then restore my older 9.7″ iPad Pro with my wife’s iPad’s backup so she could take it on her trip which she left on this morning. Instead I ended up wasting TWO HOURS of driving and in-store time to chase down a cable that Apple should have included in the box.

WHAT…NO DONGLE OR CABLE?
As you may know, Apple decided to move to USB-C for these new iPad Pros, a move I see as a good one. In fact, I had already made somewhat of a switch to USB-C with my MacBook 12″ and its USB-C connections. As such, I already owned several USB-C cables and dongles.

What I did NOT expect was the included USB-C and charger was like the MacBooks: USB-C on both ends! No USB-A to USB-C dongle (or cable) was included. Setting up this new iPad Pro was therefore impossible for me since the 27″ iMac Retina I bought in 2015 for $4,800 had Thunderbolt 2 and USB-A connections. Without USB-A to USB-C in some fashion, I had no way to perform the required connect-to-iTunes step to begin the set up on this new iPad Pro!

I thought, “Wait a second…Apple couldn’t be this stupid…or could they?” so I got on ‘the Google’ and confirmed that yes, Apple had been that shortsighted and I had to go and buy a USB-A to USB-C charge/sync cable. Shit.

APPLE STORE, IRVINE CA
Knowing I didn’t have much time, I hauled-ass down to the closest Apple Store. The woman who helped me received the angry rant from me, though I did deliver it somewhat cheerfully and made sure she knew I wasn’t mad at her. She connected me up with an Apple Genius who confirmed that yes, for my “older iMac” (seriously? It is barely 3 years old) that I did require a USB-A to USB-C charge/sync cable but they were out of stock!

The Genius’ suggestion? Go to a Best Buy store three miles away. Fortunately Best Buy did have one left of my needed USB-A to USB-C charge/sync cable but it was in the warehouse and it took the young man 15 minutes to locate it.

DEAR APPLE,

While you can do whatever you want to when it comes to making material changes to device ports, You need to think-through who is buying these devices.

This is not an isolated rant from some guy who doesn’t know better:

  • I’ve been buying Apple products since 1980.
  • I was in Hawaii when Steve introduced Macintosh to the company and sales reps.
  • My back-of-the-envelope sees that I’ve collectively spent nearly $100k-125k on Apple products and services personally and for the company my wife and I co-own.
  • I went to work for Apple directly after Steve came back in 1997.
  • Without Apple and the embrace of the Desktop Publishing revolution, our company would not have begun.
  • My wife and I own a significant number of AAPL shares and yes, we thank Apple often for helping us to achieve fabulous results in our retirement accounts.

But this is the first time I’ve been angry over a move that Apple made since not including a USB-A to USB-C dongle or cable was a trivial oversight that cost me time, effort, energy and frustration.

QUESTIONS

  • Why did you not pre-stock Apple Stores with enough USB-A to USB-C cables? Or ask your suppliers (e.g., Belkin) to ship extras to each store?
  • Why did you not include a USB-A to USB-C cable in the box? For the kind of gross margin you’re making on these devices, I assume it would be a fractional change to that margin to include one.

Because your team didn’t think-through what your install base would require, my wife was unable to take my older iPad Pro with her on her trip (I didn’t have enough time to get it ready).

That device would have been essential for her since she could have used the previous Apple Pencil to sign PDF documents on her trip. Now she will have to print everything out (and find a printer), sign them by hand, scan them in, and then send them. While that process is trivial for me as I’ve done it often, she never has and the time I could have used to get that iPad Pro set up for her and coach her through that process, was instead used to locate and buy a damn USB-A to USB-C cable.

So think about what is good for your customers (and not just Apple) the next time you change out a connection method with no thought or warning.

About Steve Borsch

I'm CEO of Marketing Directions, Inc., a trend forecasting, consulting and publishing firm in Minnesota. Prior to that I was Vice President, Strategic Alliances at Lawson Software in St. Paul where I was responsible for all partnerships at this major vendor of enterprise resource planning software products and services. Read more about me here unless you're already weary of me telling you how incredible and awesome I am.

Comments

  1. Hi Steve – I just recently traded in my MacBook (6 years old and screen blanking out randomly) and got my first iPad Pro – 12.9”. I love it! But I purposefully bought the 2nd gen because I didn’t want to give up my beloved home button (Ha!). Good thing I did though, because whatever hassle you had would have been worse for me as the closest Apple store is either Charleston (3 hours or Charlotte (3.5 hours). My Apple Pencil arrives today and after watching people take notes with it (in church, actually!) I thought, wow, what a great tool! So I’m still having fun with my Apple products but haven’t succeeded in converting my husband. I’ll never forget that it was Michelle who bought me my first iPod way back around 2003 maybe – I loved that thing and have been listening to audiobooks and music via iPod and then iPhone ever since 🙂 BTW, your new house looks beautiful! Enjoy your winter without snow – we sure do!! We head back often enough to get a dose of reality on how blessed we are to be somewhere warmer now!

  2. Steve Borsch says:

    Hi Cathy! Nice to hear from you and thanks for the comment.

    After my first iPad Pro (the 9.7″) and using the Apple Pencil, I was hooked. We used it to sign all of our documents when we sold the house in Eden Prairie, and have used it out here extensively. I have at least half a dozen “notebook-like” apps that I take notes in and sketch ideas, websites, etc. (When working I used Microsoft OneNote all the time and now use Noteshelf 2).

    Forgot all about Michelle and that iPod. Feels like a loooong time ago, heh? I could see Doug not interested in Apple products, but lets keep working on him! 😉

    Thanks for the words about the house. Only 8 days to go!

  3. Hey dumbass, this is why Wi-Fi syncing through iTunes and iCloud backups exist. Making an issue over a $10 outdated cable. 🙄

  4. Steve Borsch says:

    Back at ‘ya dumbass.

    First of all you cannot set up a new iPad through iTunes without connecting it directly to a Mac WITH A CABLE. With respect to iCloud backup, I trust Apple more than any other vendor when it comes to mobile device security, but I trust NO manufacturer with my sensitive data and do not use iCloud backup on purpose.

    Though Apple uses the best security methodologies to protect our sensitive data, with a court order they are forced to enable access for law enforcement, which by default means that there is a method for getting in to iCloud user data.

    By the way, if you’re going to be a troll and leave derogatory comments, have the balls to use your real email address. What are you, 12 years old?

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