Apple Pencil to iPad dongle disaster – and the five other biggest Apple hardware fails

iPad (2022) with Apple Pencil
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple introduced the 10th-generation iPad earlier this month. The "budget" tablet includes a lengthy list of new and updated features that puts it closer to the iPad Air 5 (2022) than its predecessor, the iPad (2021). 

When it comes to Apple Pencil support, however, nothing has changed. Like last year's iPad, the iPad (2022) only supports the 1st-generation Apple Pencil, not the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil. The problem? The 4-star iPad (2022) comes with a USB-C port rather than Lightning. Therefore, to charge the Apple Pencil with the new tablet requires purchasing a goofy looking $9 dongle. 

I already mentioned there are valid points on both sides on whether Apple was right (or wrong) to stick with first-generation Apple Pencil compatibility regarding the new iPad. No matter which side you're on, it's probably likely no one likes the idea of buying a dongle to charge an Apple Pencil. 

That USB-C to Apple Pencil Adapter isn't the only bizarre hardware design choice, the iPhone maker has made over the years. Five others are at least equally head-scratching. 

AirPods Max Smart Case

AirPods max in smart case

(Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

The AirPods Max is a fantastic product that's been on the market for nearly two years. On the other hand, the included Smart Case is a product that Apple should have never left see the light of day. 

The Smart Case is neither "smart" nor an actual "case" because it offers the $549 headphones anything beyond passing protection. It's also terribly designed and doesn't always work as intended; when the AirPods Max is slid into the case, magnets are supposed to automatically put the headphones in low-power mode to save battery life.

If a second-gen AirPods Max gets released, here's hoping Cupertino ditches the Smart Case, and replaces it with something that provides real protection — and an on/off switch on one of the headphones. 

Magic Mouse

Magic Mouse, bottom

(Image credit: iMore)

The only other current Apple product on this list, the Magic Mouse, is stunning and works flawlessly across many types of surfaces. It quickly loses points when you attempt to recharge its batteries, however.

Instead of putting the device's Lightning charging port somewhere on the side, Apple placed it on the bottom, making it impossible to use the mouse when it's being charged. 

What's most frustrating about this odd port placement is that Apple has never corrected it, even though numerous versions of the Magic Mouse were released over the years. It's a design choice that's right up there with the sound of someone scratching their nails on an old-style blackboard. Scratch.  

Apple USB Mouse

Apple USB Mouse

(Image credit: Apple)

The Magic Mouse wasn't Apple's first input device with a design flaw; that would be the Apple USB Mouse that shipped with the iconic Bondi Blue iMac G3. Circular in shape, Apple's first USB mouse was difficult to hold and tended to become unstable while holding it, depending on the angle. It also came with a crazy short cord that made it nearly impossible to use over long periods. 

iPod Hi-Fi

iPod Hi-Fi

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The iPod Hi-Fi bookshelf speaker arrived as iPod was taking over the world. Unfortunately, the speaker's terrible sound, excessive weight, and high price resulted in a product life cycle of just 18 months. After the iPod Hi-Fi's failure, it took Apple nearly a decade before it released another speaker (in this case, the HomePod). 

iPod shuffle (3rd gen)

iPod shuffle

(Image credit: Apple)

At the minimum, products should improve with each subsequent generational release. This wasn't the case with the third-generation iPod Shuffle, which Apple launched in 2009 for just $59. For that price, you got a tiny device devoid of any buttons or controls. You needed to use Apple earbuds or an approved headphone adapter from a third party to make any song change. 

This iPod Shuffle version lasted just 12 months. Its successor came with a brand new design that included buttons; it was a product that stayed on the market for seven years. 

As you can see, the USB-C to Apple Pencil Adapter isn't the only product Cupertino placed on the market that caused some head-scratching. Luckily, most of its products are very well received, including the best iPads, which will no doubt soon include the 10th-generation iPad mentioned above. 

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.