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This article was published on July 15, 2020

We estimated how much the new braided iPhone cable will cost consumers

Call me math boy

We estimated how much the new braided iPhone cable will cost consumers
Callum Booth
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Callum Booth

Editor of Plugged by TNW

Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He w Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He writes about gear, gadgets, and apps — with a particular focus on Apple — and also makes the occasional odd video. Basically, he's halfway between an abrasive gadget nerd and thinky art boy.

Yesterday, a new iPhone cable leaked. Woah, hold on, don’t leave.

Basically, it’s rumored the iPhone 12 won’t come with a crappy plastic wire. Oh no. Instead, we’re going to get a new braided iPhone cable with USB-C to Lightning connections. You can pump your fists in excitement now.

And, also, because you’re very nice, here’s a photo of it:

This is another part of Apple’s overall plan of removing the charger from the box of the iPhone 12 — something I have strong feelings about, but enough of that.

This piece isn’t about me (although, realistically, everything I write is a little bit about me), it’s focused on something else: how much Apple is going to sell the new braided iPhone cable for.

The company is known for its crazy pricing, so I wanted to try and estimate the value they’ll assign to a new cable.

Let’s dive in.

First, I want to look at how much Apple’s current, plastic-coated cables cost. But which type? Well, as the new braided iPhone cables will use USB-C to Lightning, that seems like a good place to start.

old iphone cables USB-C to Lightning Apple Store
Pulled from Apple’s very own online store. Also, so expensive.

Well, we’ve found our opening clue: it’ll going to be more than $19. That, friends, is detective work.

At this point, we should also decide what size of cable we’re going to estimate. In order to avoid a heart attack, let’s go for the 1m new braided iPhone cable.

One way of building from this $19 price is to find out how much extra a braided cable cost on average. For this, I looked to Anker. Its USB-C to Lightning plastic-covered cable sells for $14.99, while its braided counterpart ships for $21.99.

This is a $7 increase, but I prefer to use the percentage rise here, which is 46.7%. With that in mind, the braiding will push up the cable from $19 to $27.87.

What else? Well, according to ChargerLAB and MacRumors, the new braided iPhone cable will “feature 8 silver contacts with rhodium-plated ruthenium,” a material that’s more resistant to corrosion and something the original cable doesn’t have.

Looking it up, ruthenium goes for about $8.60 a gram, while rhodium sells for around $250 per gram. Still, I’d assume mere centigrams or, more likely, milligrams of rhodium will be used in each new braided iPhone cable.

Despite this, the rhodium-plated ruthenium on the fresh cables will undoubtedly cost a bit extra and, totally unscientifically, I’m going to say around $2. Because why not?

So, adding this onto our price before, we’d get $29.87, but that’s not quite round enough. So I’m going to say $29 instead. That not only keeps it under $30, but also makes it fit in with previous Apple pricing.

Is there anything else we can do to confirm this?

Well, Apple has a little bit of history with braided cables. The company sells a 2M braided Thunderbolt 3 Pro cable for $129 (I know), while it also stocks a regular Belkin one for $79.95.

new braided iphone cable comparison thunderbolt 3 belkin apple
THANKS FOR THE BARGAIN, APPLE!

That’s a 61.35% increase between the standard and pro cables. In comparison, the rise from the regular $19 USB-C to Lightning wire to our estimated $29 mode is only 52.63%. This puts it well within the realms of believability.

Now, there is one instance of Apple producing a braided USB-C to Lightning cable. And it appears with the Mac Pro:


But… you can’t buy one of these, so we can’t get a price, unfortunately.

Still, that hasn’t stopped people on Reddit joking about Apple selling it for $49. And you know what? They may well be right — especially if we consider a 2m version of the new braided iPhone cable.

The percentage rise between Apple’s regular 1m and 2m USB-C to Lightning cables is 84.21%. If we apply the same rise to our new 1m cable (estimated at $29), we get the figure of $53.42.

I could totally imagine Apple rounding that figure and selling a 2m “pro” USB-C to Lightning cable for $49. Uncanny.

There it is! A bit of napkin maths to work out how much Apple is going to sell its new braided iPhone cable for. Now we play a waiting game to find out how accurate my prediction is. Anyone fancy a beer?

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