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Apple mistakenly offers, then pulls, free Lightning adapters in UK

Apple adapter

A mistake at the UK Apple website caused some confusion Friday when it claimed that the iPhone 5 would come with a free Lightning-to-30-pin adapter. The website has been updated, but not before making a few users rather angry.

Apple's new iPhone 5 has a brand new type of cable that, replacing the familiar wide connector found on so many devices worldwide. While the change was inevitable, many are complaining that it makes thousands of accessories and cables obsolete — and meanwhile, Apple charges a rather high $29 for the simple adapter.

UK customers pre-ordering their iPhone 5 received a pleasant surprise this morning, however, as the "accessories" portion of the ordering process promised a free one:

Apple Store
UK Apple Store

Some American customers were disappointed to find that it wasn't offered in the U.S., and thought they were getting an unfair deal. But when a customer asked Apple, the company informed everyone that the whole thing was an error, and it the site was corrected shortly after.

Those who ordered pre-ordered the phone who had seen the initial Web offer were left wondering whether Apple would honor the product description given on the site. After all, they might have chosen not to buy an adapter because the description said it came with one.

Historically, some companies have opted to honor the mistaken terms, even when doing so is very costly; for instance, Amazon once accidentally offered a free $350 camera when you bought a $40 bag, rather than vice versa, and honored many of the orders that came in before it was corrected.

In Apple's case, it may be several thousand people who would need to receive the $30 adapter — perhaps not too much to pay for a bit of good PR.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is