The Apple Store is absolutely loaded with useful stuff that’s been accredited by Apple itself so that you know it's going to work perfectly with your gear. There’s also some really weird stuff that you might not have expected to be around anymore, from strange dongles to expensive accessories that make little sense.
Some of these things still have a use, but some just feel a little out of date, and out of place. So we’ve found some of the strangest, and why they might actually not be all that weird after all.
5 weird things you can still get at the Apple Store
When you bought an old iPhone, you used to get loads of stuff in the box. A charging brick, loads of paperwork, a headphone adapter, and most importantly for some, a pair of Apple’s own EarPods in the box. The first version where never much cop with a weird shape, zero comfort, and some truly dreadful sound quality.
The second version, that you can still buy on the Apple Store, where a lot better. They sounded ok, were fairly comfortable, and came in the box when you bought an iPhone. Until they didn’t, with the iPhone 12 – and you had to buy your own earphones. You could buy them from the Apple Store for around $20 already, but given how long they last, the buds that came with your last phone likely would have broken long ago. Now, when there are loads of other options in terms of headphones both wired and wireless, it feels strange that you can still buy EarPods from the Apple store – and they’re even going to get an update to USB-C with the new iPhone 15.
It feels weird to see EarPods on the Apple Store, especially ones with a 3.5mm jack given that iPhones haven’t had the connector for a long time, but they are at least a useful product. Weird, but we can see why they’re there.
Weirdness score: ⅖
We live in the age of the USB-C dongle, and there’s nothing we can do about it. That means, for those with older legacy hardware, you’re going to need a dongle to make your stuff work, especially older professional equipment that isn’t worth replacing for just a new connector. Some of the dongles on the site make sense like the USB-C to firewire dongle for professionals, but there are others that are a little… stranger.
There are dongles and cables like this, a 30-pin to VGA dongle. Given that Apple hasn’t made a product with the 30-pin connector since the iPhone 4s, and stopped support in September 2012, it feels weird that Apple might continue to make a connector like this. Especially because it's VGA… remember those? No High def signals here, folks.
Having said all that, it is really good that Apple supports older, legacy hardware. I can still buy a new cable for my iPod from the Apple store to this day, and I think that's to be celebrated. Still weird though.
Weirdness score: ⅗
Did you know that you can buy older versions of the Mac operating system on the Apple Store? On disc, no less? You can buy, for $20, downloads of Mac OS X 10.8 mountain lion, and Mac OS X 10.7 Lion that are sent to you via email. That certainly feels strange.
It does make a little sense, however. Perhaps you have a machine that you updated but now feels a little sluggish on the most recent version of macOS. You can grab these versions of OS X (for the right machines of course, these aren’t going to run on your new MacBook Pro 2023), install them, and make sure that your legacy machine is still going to run well. Weird, yes, but there are uses here.
Weirdness score: ⅘
So I’m not saying any of these things aren’t useful, but they do feel a little daft. $699 for wheels? A $1000 (oh wait, excuse me, $999) Pro stand? A $20 cleaning cloth? Some of Apple’s accessories just sound and look far too expensive, and feels weird whenever we see them in the store.
Let's take the $699 wheels as an example. For a set of four wheels to put on your (already madly expensive) Mac Pro, you’ll pay almost $300 more than you might if you want to buy an iPhone SE. So you could have a phone – or some wheels. That’s not a question you should be asking yourself unless you’re looking at fixing your car – and for this reason, they find themselves with a high weirdness score.
Weirdness score: ⅘
Again, I’m not going to tell you this is useless – it’s probably great if you’re a pro skipper, or like, a boxer or something, but a smart skipping rope just feels like making something smart for being smart's sake. And white handles for something that’s going to be in your sweaty hands while you’re exercising is asking for a product that looks horrible after the first use.
It does seem to have its uses – it measures each full revolution of the rope, giving you a better idea of how your workouts are working for you. It even links up to HealthKit for more insights and accuracy.
But it charges with Micro USB. Weird.
Weirdness score: 5/5
Weird, but useful?
It’s not like Apple is going to fill its store with stuff that doesn’t have at least some kind of use, and most of these things, while weird, are actually pretty cool. I know I have a use for a 30-pin charging cable, and loads of collectors and preservers of aging tech are likely happy that there are at least some old versions of OS X available to this day. So while yes, there is some weird stuff on the Apple store, they all have their uses and raisons d’etre.
But then some are a smart skipping rope.
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As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.