The charging and sync cable that comes with your iPhone or iPad is a mere meter in length, which is great if there's a plug socket near where you want to charge your iOS device, say beside your bed while you sleep. What if the plug lurks a little further away? If that is the case you might be thinking of investing in a longer charging cable. Woodford Design has one such cable.
The £9.99 PowerLine is three metres long so likely to stretch to even the farthest plug socket. So, night time charging issues resolved? Unfortunately not. There is a reason why Apple's syncing cable is a metre long. Any longer than that and the charge received by your device is too weak. Our experience with the PowerLine cable was disappointing for this reason. The iPhone would frequently bleep at us as it picked up, and then would lose the charge.
This might have been more acceptable had it not been waking us up as well as itself (it was night time). On one occasion we simply couldn't get our iPhone to charge at all. We tried pushing the cable in extra hard, we tried pulling it out a bit, all this fiddling got us some charge, but as soon as we put the iPhone down the charge would stop. Needless to say we didn't get a full charge during the night, because for most of the time the iPhone wasn't charging at all.
We thought maybe the PowerLine cable might work better for syncing to our Mac and plugged it in to our USB port. First thing that happened was we got a message on the screen saying that: "Because a USB device was drawing too much power from your computer , one or more of your USB devices have been disabled."
Thinking that our Microsoft Arc mouse might be the culprit we tied it and it still worked. Since the iPhone hadn't yet mounted on our Mac we tried unplugging the mouse's receiver, but still the iPhone didn't appear. Then when we plugged in the iphone via the PowerLine cable, with no other USB device plugged in, we still got the error message – suggesting the PowerLine cable simply doesn't work with a Mac.
We then plugging our iPhone in via Apple's cable, and not only did we not get the error message, the iPhone showed charging, Aperture opened as usual, and iTunes asked us if we'd like to download the latest iPhone update. With the three metre cable the iPhone might as well not have been there, the only recognition that the Mac knew something had been plugged in being the error message.
This isn't the only three metre USB cable we've tried. In our experience a cable over one metre just won't give you the power your iOS device needs to charge. If you desperately need a longer cable and there is no other solution, with a bit of trial and error you can get a charge out of the PowerLine. But we'd advice you reposition your iPhone or iPad and charge it from a metre long cable rather than fork out £10 to buy a couple of extra metres.