Apple Quietly Launches Shorter Lightning Cable, Redesigned Earbuds

15 February 2013, 9:21 am EST By Alexandra Burlacu Mobile & Apps

Apple quietly introduced a new, shorter Lightning-to-USB cable and a slightly improved premium in-ear headphone design to its lineup, expanding its iOS device accessories.

The launch of the new Lightning to USB cable follows Apple's move last month to introduce a shorter Thunderbolt cable.

The new cable accessory is half the length of the standard Lightning to USB cable: half a meter. The shorter version aims to provide an alternative for users looking to deal with clutter in more confined spaces. The standard, one-meter cable ships with Apple's latest iOS devices, and is currently a top seller for the company. Despite the difference in length, both Lightning to USB cables come with the same price tag: $19.

When it comes to the in-ear headphones, the change is quite minor. Save for the remote control module, little is changed. Basically, Apple now added its larger remote to its $79 in-ear headphones. The new accessory now takes the shape first seen back in September with the EarPods. The update seems to be mainly aesthetic, as the product page lists no change in terms of hardware specs. The price stays the same: $79.

The changes are in typical Apple fashion, as the company has the tendency to make small tweaks to its products mid-lifecycle, without making a big fuss about it.

If the Lightning cables from Apple are too expensive for some, available alternatives might seem more appealing. When the new iPhone 5 first launched, Lightning cables were nearly impossible to find. Now they are more readily available, and a few third-party vendors offer good Lightning products. Still, many consumers prefer to purchase original accessories from Apple instead of third-party vendors.

Apple products are always popular, even creating their own ecosystem, and accessories are generally welcome. The Cupertino giant may not offer the widest range of accessories ever known to man, but the new Lightning to USB cable and the redesigned headphones do make a nice addition. Having more options is always better, especially if those options bring improvements. For some, the slightest tweaks can make a big difference, although a drop in price would certainly make a bigger impact. 

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