is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
Apple’s Lightning cable spec is great. Of all the various types of cables I’ve used over the years, it’s the easiest to use and the most reliable by far, plus it provides the most satisfying tactile feedback, hands down. And yet, sooner or later almost every Apple-branded Lightning cable I’ve owned ends up looking like this:
There are various hacky methods of fixing this problem but none of them seem particularly effective. I’ve actually taken to buying Apple MFi-certified Lightning cables from Monoprice, which I’ve found to be both sturdier and cheaper. Recommended.
Just this morning I saw that the always clever accessories manufacturer Nomad is now selling a series of ultra-rugged Lightning cables that are “wrapped in 1000D nylon woven in a ballistic weave pattern.”
Other features include: “Reinforced RF shielding for fast data sync. 2x thick protective PVC jacket. Extra thick wire gauge and a robust kevlar core.” If the technical language and the impressively science-y diagram above don’t sway you, the cost will certainly give you pause. A basic cable is US$34.95, nearly twice the price of Apple’s stock 1M USB-to-Lightning model.
However, for just US$5 more, Nomad also offers a version of this cable that has a “high capacity 2350 mAh portable battery” embedded along the cable length, which I find to be pretty ingenious. It looks like this:
Of course, external batteries have notoriously short life spans, so when this battery has effectively died, you’ll have a needlessly heavy and bulky cable on your hands. Still, if it doesn’t fray, I wouldn’t complain.+