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iPhone 5 buyers face Lightning cable, adapter scarcity

They're small, but they're defining accessories for Apple's new iPhone and iPods. And if you're looking to buy them, be prepared to wait.

Apple's new plug, already selling well apparently.
Apple's new plug, already selling well apparently.

Love it or hate it, Apple's new Lightning plug is here to stay.

But the cables and adapters to get some of your old gear working with your new iPhone or iPod that uses the technology? You'll have a wait ahead of you if you want to buy them from Apple's online store.

Apple's USB-to-Lightning adapter, which runs for $19 and comes as a pack-in with the iPhone 5, and the iPod Nano and Touch, has gone from shipping in 1-3 days to 2-3 weeks.

It's potentially an even longer wait for both models of the Lightning-to-30-pin adapters -- the $39 0.2 meter adapter and the $29 stub adapter. Both are still listed as shipping in the more nebulous "October."

Lightning is Apple's new plug technology, which replaces the 30-pin adapters that date back to early iPods. Its key benefit is its size, which is 80 percent smaller. Users can also plug it in with either side up. Despite these benefits, the new technology presents a costly change for people who have multiple cables that they use in their car, home or at work.

Of course the limited availability does not necessarily mean that the part will be tough to get in the coming weeks. People will still be able to buy the cable from third-party retailers and carrier partners, as well as from Apple's retail stores.

Corrected at 1:32 a.m. PT to clarify that the two adapters were already set to ship in October.

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