Apple might be ending Lightning ports and finally embracing the industry-standard USB-C ports.
Recently, industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted on Twitter that the iPhone 15 will have a USB-C port instead of the now decade-old Lightning port, making the iPhone 14 the last of its kind. The prediction might have been right on the money as a recent Bloomberg report reveals that Apple is testing out USB-C ports on iPhones.
The information comes from anonymous sources who claim to have insider knowledge of Apple’s future iPhone plans. Take this information with a grain of salt as Apple is not confirming - naturally - and these reports could be offbase.
All that aside, the report goes on to say that you won’t see USB-C until 2023. iPhone 14 (the assumed name) models coming out in 2022 are expected to retain Lightning ports. Apple is also reportedly working on a special adapter that would allow future USB-C iPhones to work with accessories housing Lightning ports.
A switch to USB-C would shake up a lot of things. For starters, it would lessen Apple’s grip over the industry and companies that make Apple accessories. They would no longer be forced to abide by strict approval guidelines.
And if there are fewer companies making Lightning connectors, that would interfere with the usability of devices like AirPods. It’s entirely possible Apple could make another USB-C adapter for Apple accessories, but this report offered no indication of that possibility.
New EU law
The report’s sources didn’t say why Apple is potentially doing this, but there’s a good chance it would have something to do with recent European legislation.
Back in April, the EU’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee approved a mandate that will force all smartphones to use USB–C connectors and ports as a universal standard. The EU claims this law will reduce e-waste in the fight against climate change. However, it won’t take effect until 2026.
As you can imagine, Apple wasn’t happy. The company told TechRadar in 2021 that this law "…stifles innovation" and could hurt consumers around the world. Apple has tried to work with the EU, but so far the two entities have yet to see eye to eye.
Ming-Chi Kuo on Twitter states that if Apple does go through with USB-C, it will improve the iPhone’s transfer and charging speeds. But the fast speeds are dependent on future hardware. You also won’t have to buy extra accessories if you decide to switch from an Android.
There is still a small chance that the EU law might get dropped and a possibility Apple will stick to its guns. Hopefully, Apple goes through with USB-C iPhone regardless so we won’t have to buy extra cables.
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Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.