Apple remains stuck in the past with M3 iMac accessories

The Apple iMac 24-inch with M3, show during Apple's October 2023 livestream event.
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's October event was dubbed ‘Scary Fast’ to fit into the spooky vibes the month brings, and while I was pleasantly surprised to see the revival of the 24-inch iMac, now fitted with the speedy M3 chip, I couldn’t help being baffled by the inclusion of a dying feature – the Lightning port. 

The new M3 iMac is still being shipped with peripherals using a Lightning port to pair and charge, rather than USB-C as I expected considering the big push Apple has made to swap over to the more accessible, and universal port. 

Apple finally ditched the Lightning port for USB-C for the iPhone 15 family, including the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max. All the most recent generations of the iPad and the second generation AirPods Pro and Apple Pencil now use USB-C, so the shift is definitely in widespread effect. 

It’s a rather strange move for Apple to debut a refresh of a rather beloved all-in-one PC, fitted with new M3 chips and Sonoma OS but cling onto to a dying feature. As someone who operates entirely on the Apple ecosystem, I’ve basically thrown out all but one Lightning cable ( just in case ) so if I unboxed the brand new M3 iMac and was greeted with outdated ports, I’d be miffed. 

Not what I was expecting

Why would I expect my Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard, and Magic Trackpad to still have Lightning ports? Have I been transported back to 2019? How much more annoying could the mouse you already have to flip over to charge be now that it's paired with a dying port? 

The actual port isn’t a problem – more the fact that the rest of the world has moved onto USB-C.  I was hopeful that with the iPhone 15’s USB-C debut that would be the final nail in the coffin for the iconic Lightning port, but it seems like Apple isn’t going to let go just yet. Perhaps the move to USB-C for iPhones put pressure on the company to maintain Lightning in some way to balance supply chain and logistics, but we can’t be sure as of yet. 

So, if you’re planning to migrate to the new M3 iMac you should be prepared to keep two sets of cables, Lightning for your keyboard and mouse, and USB-C for literally everything else. We’ve waited just around two years for the iMac to get an update, hopefully, we won’t have to wait for another two before the USB-C ports finally make an appearance on iMac accessories.

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Muskaan Saxena
Computing Staff Writer

Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison. Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place. Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).