So I took the opportunity to upgrade to the iPhone 5. And along with the phone upgrade, I was forced to shed all my old iPhone charging cords for the new "Lightening" cable.
I have at least 3 cords. I keep one cord in my car, one with my computer, and one by my bed. With these three strategically placed cords, I rarely run out of battery power on my phone because a cord wasn't available to charge it.
Since one cord comes with the new iPhone, I needed 2 more to keep my battery-time-continuum factor alive. Not wanting to pay Apple's hefty price of $19 per cable, I started searching the internet.
The best deal I found was at FastTech.com. The cable was listed for under $3 with FREE SHIPPING!
At first, I figured it had to be a scam, as it was WAY under the price of anywhere else. And to top it off, I looked at the "Contact Us" page to find they were located in Hong Kong.
However, I remembered reading an article about a company in China that would start delivering to the United States from China for low costs, similar in cost to sending small packages in the mail within the US.
Sure enough, that's what this company seemed to be doing.
For only $3, I figured I'd give it a try (Actually I bought a bunch of cables/accessories for only $15 - less than the cost of one cable from Apple).
I didn't really track how long it took to arrive. It felt like only a week, but may have been two. Either way, it felt like it arrived quickly.
My package arrived in the mail and I quickly ripped it open excited to test it out and see if I had wasted my money. I was actually surprised to find all the cables worked just fine.
And the cables are perfect matches to the original Apple cable that came with my phone. I've bought cheap cables before and they always were manufactured poorly with cheap materials that broke quickly. This one is well made, just as good as the original, and I'm pretty sure it will last as long as the cable that came with my phone.
The only question remains... Am I a terrible American for ordering directly from China?! I'll have to discuss those thoughts about the systemic ramifications of my purchase in another post...
8/12/2013 - A couple of the cables I purchased quit working for data and soon after fell apart on the side that you plug into the phone. For the price, I think 8 months is pretty good, but I did purchase a few of them, so I used them less then if you were to use one of these cable all the time (therefore it likely would have worn out sooner). However, I did have the convenience of having a cable wherever I needed it, rather than having to track and carry around one or two cables, so that is what makes these cables worth it for me. I am buying another couple cables from fasttech today.
5/15/2015 - I'm at the point where these things die within a couple months of usage and I've purchased enough of them (which have all gone bad) that I would have been better off just buying the full priced ones from Apple. I don't know what Apple does in their manufacturing, but they last forever. My new recommendation is to buy directly from Apple if you plan on using the cable for more than a year. They are much more expensive, but they last (seemingly) forever. I don't suggest buying any discount cables as you are likely to just get the same cables I get from Fasttech, but at a higher price - buy directly from Apple.
2/3/2016 - I've been ordering Authentic OEM iPhone cables for about $8 each (including free shipping) off of eBay and I'm 99% certain these are completely legitimate Apple made cables. The reason I believe so is that they come in an actual Apple branded box with Apple branded booklets (Certification/Compliance & Warranty).
I can't fathom an illegitimate source spending the money would take to create these extra packaging items, which is why most illegitimate cables (though claimed to be Apple OEM) come without any packaging or booklets. I have to believe the cost for the illegitimate companies making these knock-off "OEM" cables to replicate the packaging would be more than what the cables are selling for, so it wouldn't be profitable for them to go that far. I have to believe only Apple has the volume to create this type of packaging inexpensively enough.