When a cable company says no one has signed up for its $200 top-tier, everyone laughs. When Apple says nobody is using its $50 HDMI cable, it's because HDMI from a tablet-computer is "ancient." I would love to plug my iPad into all my various screens, but I'm not going to pay $50 for the privilege.
This is not the same as Apple selling an external floppy drive after removing floppies from its systems. The HDMI adapter has always been separate. The floppies weren't limited to 768k disks because of USB limitations, either. A consumer with one of these cables has payed the same price for a substantially worse product than they got before. According the the article, it's even being sold with false information.
"The Lightning Digital AV Adapter supports mirroring of what is displayed on your device screen — including apps, presentations, websites, slideshows, and more — to your HDMI-equipped TV, display, projector, or other compatible display in up to 1080p HD."
They specifically mention 1080p video in the next paragraph, so maybe when you have an existing 1080p video on your device, they dump it straight the chip in the cable for playback over HDMI, and that one instance is where they satisfy their "up to" claim. I don't know. But it sucks. The only person it doesn't suck for is someone who doesn't use it, and therefore has no dog in the fight.