Which Lightning Connector(s) Should I Get for My iPad mini?

Anthony Ricottilli writes:

I have recently purchased an iPad mini. The only accessory I feel I really need is the Camera Connection Kit. I use the one I own for my iPad 2 often. I use the iPad as my main means of uploading, sorting, and editing my photos. Do you feel it would be better for me to purchase the new Lightning-to-SD card camera reader or the Lightning-to-30-pin adapter? Is the Lightning-to-30-pin adapter going to stand up to daily use? Or would I be better off with the SD reader made specifically for Lightning?

Which Lightning Connector(s) Should I Get for My iPad mini?Thanks for your question, Anthony! Not everyone will agree that Apple’s Lightning connector was a necessary modification over its predecessor (the 30-pin dock connector), but like it or not, the new connector is here to stay. And as with any new proprietary technology, figuring out the best method of enabling compatibility with older (and often proprietary) devices and connectors can be a royal pain in that place where the light(ning) don’t shine.

As with the MagSafe connector, which replaced the Apple Power Connector found on PowerBooks (Mac laptops prior to the introduction of the MacBook Pro line), Lightning adds improved functionality and durability in a smaller form. Your concern about the Lightning-to-30-pin adapter being able to withstand daily use is, in my opinion, valid but unnecessary. Whichever connector you ultimately decide to go with, as long as it’s an Apple product, it’s likely to either last the lifetime of the device or — should any defects occur — be promptly recalled and replaced by the company.

That’s not to say that third-party peripheral manufacturers make lesser products. In fact, Apple often throws a bone to third parties by giving them time to bring their own competing products to market. Apple is run by some very savvy folks, and they know that third parties come up with some very interesting solutions that help to further drive sales of iPads, iPods, and iPhones. The people working at Apple know it’s a far better strategy to encourage third-party development, at least to some degree, than to offer every last solution themselves. So there are third-party manufacturers currently selling their own versions of the Camera Connection Kit to consumers, often for considerably less than the Apple Store.

My advice is to go with your gut. That’s probably not what you wanted to hear, so I’ll also tell you what I would do in your situation: I would get both the Lightning-to-SD card camera reader and the Lightning-to-30-pin adapter, or I would wait for Apple to release a Camera Connection Kit for the iPad mini. If you want to save some money, try the connectors being offered by third parties, but make sure there’s a warranty and a fair return policy if you’re buying from a manufacturer with which you’re unfamiliar.

Speaking of which, have any LockerGnome readers used camera connection kits for the iPad mini or Lightning adapters made by companies besides Apple? What has been your experience with the products?

Image from Apple

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.