Why Hotels Hate the New iPhone 5

Why Hotels Hate the New iPhone 5

Taryn Williford
Sep 17, 2012

The Apple fanboy next to you is squealing with delight, but not everyone is as excited at the annoucement of the new iPhone 5. You see, one of its new features is an unwelcome change for many hotels, gyms and other health and hospitality destinations.

Along with a bigger screen and a better camera, the just-announced Apple iPhone 5 features a redesigned power and data cord connector. Dubbed the "Lightning Connector," it's smaller than the 30-pin connector that's standard on iPhones and iPads now, plus it's reversible and more user-friendly. All signs point to the new Lighting connector being better overall for consumers, but hotels and gyms everywhere are reeling.

The Wall Street Journal reports that people who work in hotels and gyms are less than excited about Apple's recent switch-up. Since iPhone connectors are becoming more and more common attached to alarm clock docks in hotel rooms and hanging from workout equipment in the gym, Apple's change-up might mean a vast and expensive overhaul of equipment.

From WSJ.com:

"Oh God," groaned Michael Mueller, chief executive of Dallas-based hotel chain NYLO Hotels LLC, after learning of the new iPhone dock connector from a reporter Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Mueller said he has outfitted just about all of his 600 hotel rooms with clock radios that have iPhone docks at a cost, in his most recent order, of about $115 apiece. Now he says he will have to decide whether or not to replace all those radios and whether to pick the new or the old iPhone dock for the clock radios he plans to order for more than 400 rooms he has under construction.

Of course, Apple knew trading the 30-pin connector for a lighting connector would cause problems. So they prepared by making $29 30-pin-to-Lightning adapters available in stores with this week's release of the iPhone 5. That means hotels would be able to stick to their current gear and either rely on travelers to bring their own adapters, or provide them in each room (a still-pricey endeavor, considering they're likely to be yanked from rooms by sticky-fingered travelers).

For now, it seems there isn't going to be an easy solution that keeps everyone — including hoteliers, iPhone 5 travelers and guests with older iPhones — happy and connected. I'm eager to see what happens as more and more people transition to Apple's Lightning connector.

(Images: Sony RDP-X500IP Speaker Dock System Tech Test Lab, Apple)

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