Not a Lightning cable but USB to mini USB — The most frustrating thing about the otherwise handy USB cable is that I invariably try and plug it in the wrong way and have to turn it over. One of the best things about Apple’s Lightning cable is the fact you can put it into your iPad or iPhone either way up – it was worth upgrading from the previous 30-pin iDevice cable for that reason alone – but meanwhile, the USB end has the same issue that all USBs have.
WinnerGear, of New York, has released another ‘either-way’ USB cable, but this one goes beyond its first version which had a Mini USB end that could work either way up, but a traditional USB plug at the computer end. This is the little end which, normally, has a wider side that has to go into a port the right way up to match. It’s frustrating and, in the dark and when you’re impatient and being overly forceful, it’s possible to damage either the cable end or, worse, the port itself, which is commonly fitted to smaller devices like keyboards, cameras and non-Apple smartphones.
The new version from Winner Gear goes one beyond this: with this model, which is also longer, even the large USB end is shaped to go into the standard USB port either way up. Technically, that means it has reversible Micro USB at one end and a reversible Type-A Standard USB.
This is not as easy you might think. Rather than just a smarter way to manufacture that plug-end, MicFlip has had to make sure the internal cable mappings work either way as well. Clever stuff – and it works, too. While the previous model worked with most things, it baulked at my little iRig keyboard, where this version works perfectly.
You can see from this comparison how MicFlip achieves this. The bar inside the usual USB plug is thinner and centred, rather than the usual: shaped so that the space above is deeper than the space below, which is why you need to plug it into your Mac the right way up all the time.
Like the previous version (which is still available), this has corrosion-resistant gold-plated plugs while the long (200cm) aluminium-housed cable has a rubber sleeve then red braided nylon over for strength, over a rubber sleeve. And it’s in my favourite scheme of red and black.
Want one? They’re almost ready for shipping – the whole idea was funded via Indiegogo, raising more than needed. US$30 (25% off the price when it goes retail) gets you two of these excellent cables.
The previous version, which is shorter, costs US$12 (40% off) but only has one reversible end (the mini-USB).
If you contribute to the Indiegogo project, shipping is free worldwide.
Conclusion — Good quality cables are always worth the money – these are even more useful than most, and without trying to jam them in the wrong way all the time, they should last longer anyway. Now I want one that has a reversible standard USB end and Lightning at the other …
Further info — Winner Gear.