Apple’s Using A Lot Of Excess Cardboard To Ship Their Lighting To 30 Pin Adapter

Apple’s Using A Lot Of Excess Cardboard To Ship Their Lighting To 30 Pin Adapter

That’s a lot of cardboard.

The new Lighting To Thirty Pin Adapter is a tiny thing, just a little dongle that routes signals from your old iPhone dock or connector to the appropriate pins in the new Lightning adapter. It’s smaller than the size of a matchbook.

Despite this, however, reader Doug P. emailed us with an image of how much packaging the adapter comes in: not only is Apple’s retail packaging for the adapter six times bigger than the adapter itself, but the shipping box it comes in looks like could easily hold up to thirty adapters without their packaging.

To be fair to Apple, there’s a minimum size a package shipped through the mail can be to make sure it doesn’t get lost in transit. Likewise, the Lightning to 30 Pin Adapter needs to be in a box of a certain size just to fit the documentation and make it visible on store shelves. Even so, though, it’s funny that as Apple goes to awesome, incredible new lengths to make their packaging environmentally friendly, they still have to butcher this much tree to ship their smaller products to consumers.

  • Thanks Doug P.
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  • ScotHibb

    I think absurd packaging it to make a customer feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. No one wants to pay $30 for a tiny piece of plastic that you need to allow your iPhone 5 to work on your docks. I personally haven’t purchased one, I have like 20 iPhone, iPad, iPod cords and no dock-dependent apparatus, so I can save $10 and just buy the new cord. Although…when I travel I do enjoy snapping my iPhone into the Bose radio/stereo/alarm clocks at The W…guess i have to buy one for my briefcase. While I’m on the subject, what pisses in my Fruit Loops is that the adapter doesn’t allow for transmittal of video, and they don’t have a new Lightening dongle for HDMI (something I use a lot for presenting in Keynote from my iPhone). I’ve been using my new iPad to present from, but it takes away from the “wow factor” of presenting a full, media rich presentation from my iPhone.

  • Tim Meesseman

    I think absurd packaging it to make a customer feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. No one wants to pay $30 for a tiny piece of plastic that you need to allow your iPhone 5 to work on your docks. I personally haven’t purchased one, I have like 20 iPhone, iPad, iPod cords and no dock-dependent apparatus, so I can save $10 and just buy the new cord. Although…when I travel I do enjoy snapping my iPhone into the Bose radio/stereo/alarm clocks at The W…guess i have to buy one for my briefcase. While I’m on the subject, what pisses in my Fruit Loops is that the adapter doesn’t allow for transmittal of video, and they don’t have a new Lightening dongle for HDMI (something I use a lot for presenting in Keynote from my iPhone). I’ve been using my new iPad to present from, but it takes away from the “wow factor” of presenting a full, media rich presentation from my iPhone.

    I agree with you that the adapter is horribly overpriced, but to say that the packaging is to fool people into thinking they got their money worth is just as absurd.

  • Tim Meesseman

    This just in: Apple uses boxes to ship stuff in.

  • technochick

    And if someone got a busted up one due to a lack of packaging, we’d have a shippinggate on our hands

  • voodoo1979

    Oh my god! A company uses ONE type of box for all small devices shipped. It’s sheer madness!

    That is Apple’s standard small shipping box. Everyone one of these boxes I have received, the insert piece with the flaps has plastic attached so the device can be placed between the plastic and the cardboard backing, bending the flaps the tighten the plastic down on the object and then box it, it keeps the object from flying around inside the box. I can’t see from the picture if that piece has plastic on or not… or it was removed when trying to get your item out?

    You prefer to have your item broken? or you rather a company use one common small object box or have them waste more energy and resources on a unique box for every product they sell to be shipped in?

    Using one common small box for all small items is more efficient in so many ways.

  • nula

    As you stated in your story “To be fair to Apple, there’s a minimum size a package shipped through the mail can be to make sure it doesn’t get lost in transit. Likewise, the Lightning to 30 Pin Adapter needs to be in a box of a certain size just to fit the documentation and make it visible on store shelves.”

    So is it excess if it is required to do the job?

    Hey, any excuse to bash Apple right?

    My guess is that much of that packaging is made from post consumer recycled paper. The real issue here is will customers dispose of the packaging properly so it is recycled in a responsible manner and used again.

  • DS_Champion

    This is so disappointing after seeing the posts about how environmentally friendly the Earpod packaging is. Why can’t they just stick it in bubble wrap in an envelope?

  • keirp

    You typed “lighting” instead of “lightning”

  • Flu Guy

    I agree that Apple is overcharging as much as they can on this adapter. Come on – $30 for any adapter is crazy money. If they are like my 30 pin to USB cables – I’ve got like 10-12 of them scattered all over the house, the car and for travel. I will not be buying ANY of the $30 adapters. I would hate to get off the horse – but it might be time to sell my APPL and buy a Samsung Galaxy S3 with a standard cable.

    As for the packaging – why not just ship these out in a nice bubble wrap pack… they work great and there’s almost no way to hurt something small and light in them.

  • tedcranmore

    This never would have happened if Steve Jobs was still alive. His eye for detail would have caught this packaging error earlier and he’d have sacked the entire packaging crew. I wasn’t sure before, but now I can firmly say that Apple has peaked. Thanks for the wonderful article.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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