Lightning to 30-pin Adapters hands-on

While Apple managed to ship the iPhone 5 to dozens of countries within the span of a couple weeks, it's taken almost a month to get the 30-pin Dock to Lightning connector adapters shipped and into stores. So, now that they're here, how are they?

Okay. Pretty much exactly what you'd expect.

The dongle isn't really small enough to avoid being annoying, but that's what you get when you need something to translate the new, all-digital Lightning signal into the old, partly analog Dock signal and vice versa. If all you have is an old legacy cable, either stand-alone or as part of an in-car system, it works fine. Anything that's cramped, however, or relies on wrapping around the base or back of the iPhone for stability, probably won't work.

That brings us to the cable. It's the same as the dongle but includes a short length -- 20 cm or 7.8-inches -- of USB cable as well. So, for example, you could attach it inside a battery case or even some types of media docks and still, awkwardly, use them with your iPhone 5, iPod touch 5, or iPod nano 7.

Both are expensive, neither is ideal, neither supports video, and they took far too long to get into stores. That said, if you have a legacy accessory that absolutely needs a 30-pin Dock port to work, it's something you're going to have to pick up.

I tested both out with the iPod connector kit in my car and they both worked fine, exactly how the iPhone 4S worked with the traditional, direct Dock connector. My music played out through the car, and the car controls were recognized by my iPhone 5.

  • $39.95 - Lightning to 30-pin Adapter (0.2 m) - Buy now
  • $29.95 - Lightning to 30-pin Adapter - Buy now

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.