April 26, 2023 at 2:54 p.m.
- Apple developed and launched the Lightning port alongside the iPhone 5 in 2012.
- The company invented Lightning to improve power and data transmission while enabling thinner iPhones.
- Apple employees were the majority of the consortium that created USB-C in 2014.
- The EU forced Apple to switch the iPhone to USB-C, with the 2023 iPhone 15 slated to use the industry standard port.
A Brief History of the Lightning Connector
Apple introduced the Lightning connector in 2012, much to the dismay of vocal critics. Any change that Apple makes is destined to be criticized. The removal of the iPhone’s 3.5mm headphone jack also created a furor.
|Lightning: Features and Specifications 2023|
|number of connector pins||8 – 16|
|port dimensions||6.7mm x 1.5mm|
|maximum recommended cable length||2 meters|
|maximum data throughput (actual)||5 Gbps|
The common complaint was that people would need to buy new accessories or at least an adapter. The 30-pin connector had a very long lifespan. A decade is an eternity in the world of technology. Apple’s 30-pin Dock connector impeded innovation. The company wanted to make thinner iPhones; however, USB development stagnated.
I remember the transition from the 30-pin Dock connector to Lightning. My iPhone alarm-clock was rendered useless, and I had to buy a new one. That was unfortunate. It sounded good and still worked, but ended up in a landfill. It was about the size of 10 iPhones, and ended up in a landfill because it was obsolete due to Apple’s adoption of Lightning.
The reality is that Apple had to go proprietary again to innovate. Lightning was released two years before USB-C. Contemporary technologies, such as USB Micro B, needed to be improved. Indeed, Apple’s Lightning connector influenced the design of USB-C. Apple actually contributed to the creation of USB-C, with its employees dominating the consortium that created the new standard.
The similarities between Lightning and USB-C are apparent, but they’re not the same thing. Lightning ports are slimmer and more suitable for mobile devices. Lightning can also support cables as long as 2 meters, with USB-C limited to less than 1 meter.
In 2022, the EU passed Directive 2014/53/EU, which was aimed more at USB Micro B than Apple’s Lightning connector. In the European Parliament’s materials, USB Micro B was the cause of most e-waste. Unfortunately, the decision to force all smartphones to use USB-C ports means that Apple and its consumers must adapt once again.
Although the directive gives Apple until 2024 to adopt USB-C, the iPhone maker is already certifying a USB-C port for the 2023 iPhone 15 lineup. It’s a certainty that the next iPhone will have a USB-C port.
If you have headphones, microphones, or other Lightning accessories, you’ll need to either get an adapter, keep your old iPhone, or buy a new accessory. Not all Lightning accessories will be able to function with an adapter. We’ll look at the harms of the European Parliament’s decision later in the article.
Interesting Fact: Apple acquired the Lightning name from Harley-Davidson.
Devices Equipped With Lightning Ports
Many so-called tech experts claim that only the iPhone and a few iPad models use Lightning ports. The truth is many third-party manufacturers use Lightning connections.
Apple also uses Lightning in just about every product that needs to be plugged in for charging. USB-C is still a small faction in the Apple ecosystem.
Apple’s MFi Program licenses technologies to third-party manufacturers. Lightning is just one of the products Apple provides to accessory makers at a cost.
The EU’s move to force USB-C on all smartphones by 2024 means that third-party accessory manufacturers must also switch. The changes are often much more challenging for a smaller company than a titan like Apple.
Many accessory makers cater solely to Apple because its ecosystem is massive. With 1.5 billion devices, Lightning is an excellent market. Now, these smaller companies must update their devices to accommodate a new port.
A new iPhone 15 with a USB-C port creates market segmentation for accessory makers. Before, they could sell a Lightning-equipped device to over a billion customers. When the iPhone 15 is the only Apple smartphone lineup with a USB-C port, these accessory makers now have a more complicated market. It turns out that the EU’s hardball play with Apple hurt smaller companies worse than the Cupertino tech giant.
The following is a sample of devices using Apple’s Lightning connector. There are hundreds of devices using Apple’s connector. Accessories like keyboards, mice, trackpads, and the like all have Lightning ports. You can still use them, but now you must deal with two cables. To those tech wizards who claimed a USB-C iPhone would make life easier — you’re wrong!
Apple/Beats Devices with Lightning Ports:
- iPhone (iPhone 5 – iPhone 14 series)
- iPad (all standard models, 1st – 2nd gen 12.9″ iPad Pro, 1st – 3rd gen iPad Air, 1st – 5th gen iPad mini)
- AirPods (all models)
- Apple Pencil (1st gen)
- Magic Keyboard (all models)
- Magic Trackpad (all models)
- Magic Mouse (all models)
- Apple Lightning-to-HDMI adapter
- Apple TV Siri Remote
- MagSafe Battery Pack
- PowerBeats Pro
Third-Party Devices With Lightning Ports:
- GameSir X2 (game controller)
- Rotor Riot (game controller)
- Gamvice (game controller)
- Kishi (game controller)
- Shure MV-88 (microphone)
- PGDLOF (wireless microphone system)
- Saramonic (microphone)
- Alesis IO Dock (music interface)
- Akai Professional MPC Fly (music workstation)
- FLIR ONE (thermal camera)
- Philips DS3205 (speaker dock)
- Sony RDP-M71PN (speaker dock)
- iHome iDL95 (alarm clock with speaker dock)
- iWalk (power bank)
- Lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapters
- SD card readers
The list goes on and on. There are hundreds of third-party accessories using Lightning. Now, these smaller enterprises need to develop new USB-C versions while maintaining their Lightning products to sell to customers with older iPhones.
When Apple releases the iPhone 15 this year, most customers will still own iPhones and other products with Lightning ports. USB-C accessories made for iOS will be a small market, so many third-party accessory makers will wait. This means that iPhone 15 owners will be missing out on some accessories.
The iPhone 15 will be able to use some USB-C accessories, but most still need to be made compatible with iOS. It’s a headache for Apple, consumers, and third-party accessory makers.
A Brief History of USB-C
Debuting in 2014, the USB-C standard evolved from a group of contributors, including 18 Apple employees. There’s a perception that Apple doesn’t play well with others, which is undeserved. The original iMac was the first computer to offer USB ports, back when PCs still had parallel and serial interfaces.
|USB-C: Features and Specifications 2023 (USB4 Version 2.0)|
|number of connector pins||24|
|port dimensions||8.4mm x 2.6mm|
|maximum recommended cable length||0.8 meters|
|maximum data throughput (theoretical)||80 Gbps|
USB-C is an evolution of previous USB standards and an attempt to be future-proof (yeah, right). Connecting an older device to a new computer using a USB-A/B to a USB-C cable is possible, but not recommended. In fact, the USB-C specification explicitly states that a USB-A adapter isn’t guaranteed to work with a USB-C cable or port. It’s not as neat and tidy as one would believe.
Numerous USB hubs and docking stations can multiply ports and connect older USB devices, with varying degrees of success. That said, the future of device connectivity is wireless, which is why some Apple notebooks only have one USB port.
USB-C has gone through many changes throughout the years. It’s come to the point that USB-C surpasses Lightning in data throughput and power delivery. The latest version of USB-C, USB4 version 2.0, is capable of data speeds of up to 80 Gbps. This is, of course, theoretical. The iPhone can’t sustain a data transfer throughput of 80 Gbps internally between its systems. This theoretical speed can best be approached by networked computers in data centers. We’ll explore this later in the article, because it’s a commonly misunderstood issue.
Also, in terms of power, if you charged your iPhone with more current than 20W, it would destroy the battery. My previous Android smartphone came with a 65 watt charger, but its power IC (in the phone) seemed to only charge at around 20W. It’s a marketing trick that seems to work on wannabe geeks. Real nerds know that a smartphone’s power IC throttles power based on many factors. We’ll also take an in-depth look at this later in the article.
Before you get too excited, both devices must support USB4 version 2.0 to approach these speeds. They’re theoretical. Even if two devices are compatible with the newest standards, many variables determine the actual data throughput rate. Don’t expect to get 80GB per second file transfers connecting your USB-C-enabled iPhone 15 to your Mac.
|USB-C Version History|
|1.0||2014 Aug||First version of USB-C standard.|
|2.1||2021 May||Added “Extended Power Range.”|
|2.2||2022 Oct||Added USB4 Version 2.0|
USB-C vs. Lightning
USB-C Vs. Lightning
|Maximum Cable Length||X|
|2024 EU Legal Status||X|
Although Apple contributed to the development of USB-C, it’s not the same thing as Lightning. The most obvious difference is that Lightning ports are smaller. This gives Apple an advantage. They can make slimmer devices.
Lightning may also be more durable than USB-C. With Lightning, the connecting tabs are on the cable itself. USB-C has connecting tabs on the port. Since these tabs are possible points of failure, Lightning ports are more durable. If you happen to break the tabs on a Lightning cable, it’s easily remedied by replacing the cable. If they break on a USB-C port, the port on the device must be replaced. This is a huge difference in durability.
A USB-C port features a slim silicon wafer in the center. Although durability will vary by manufacturer, this is a likely point of failure. If you plug a Lightning cable into a USB-C port, damaging the digital contact points is possible. Given that an Apple customer must now manage two port architectures, it’s all the more likely.
The USB-C design features two openings where dirt, debris, or lint can ingress. Both the cable and the port have openings. This means you’ll have to check and clean two holes instead of one.
I dropped a USB-C cable behind my bed, which was dusty. The plug’s opening was full of dust when I picked it up. Luckily I have a mini vacuum that safely removed the dust. With a Lightning cable, you wipe it off.
This is a minor issue, but Apple’s design is still smarter. I wish the USB-C consortium copied Lightning even more. Having to inspect and clean two cavities isn’t an improvement.
Both Lightning and USB-C are capable of conducting power at varying wattages. Apple doesn’t publicly disclose these specifications, however, they are available to third-party manufacturers. It seems that the power limits of USB were one of the reasons why Apple developed Lightning in the first place.
It’s safe to assume that Lightning can handle up to 20W of power, as provided by the iPhone 14 Pro Max power IC. Lightning can probably handle much more wattage, however, since it is designed for mobile devices, it’s simply not necessary. USB-C on the other hand, is known to handle up to 240 watts. This makes sense for desktop computers that are plugged in to a power source. USB-C could power a fairly loud amplifier or even a screen. This doesn’t mean that Lightning can’t do this, but your iPhone isn’t going to power a 100 watt amplifier. Since Lightning is not available on desktop computers, transmission of high wattage power isn’t necessary, although it may be theoretically possible.
Data transmission speeds depend more on USB standards for both Lightning and USB-C. Lightning devices usually connect to a computer for data transfer. This is facilitated by a Lightning to USB cable. (I’ve never seen a Lightning to Lightning cable.) The data throughput actually depends on the ports on the source and target devices. It also depends on SSD or hard drive speeds of the connected gadgets. The first Lightning devices transferred data at USB 2.0 speeds. Newer devices have embraced newer USB standards.
Currently, Lightning is capable of transmitting data at an actual speed of 5 Gbps. These remarkable 80 Gbps speeds touted by USB-C are theoretical. An iPhone’s SSD is much, much slower than 80 Gbps or even 5 Gbps.
For its purpose, Lightning surpasses all data transmission needs. Remember, Lightning is a slim port for mobile devices. It’s still significantly thinner and narrower than USB-C. The USB consortium must develop another port for Apple to return a thin design like the iPhone 6. They’ve already created eight ports, so what’s one more? Here we go again!
Lightning connectors use far fewer pins than USB-C, but the latter doesn’t use all of its pins. Although USB-C uses 24 pins, only 12 are used at the same time. This allows the connector to be reversible. Lightning only uses 8 pins, however, the plug fits into the receptacle in a way which allows it to be reversible. Furthermore, electronics inside Apple devices determine the orientation of the plug and adjust accordingly. It sounds like a lot of effort, but it makes for a slimmer receptacle. This enables Apple to make such slim iPhones and iPads.
In terms of power transmission, Lightning provides more than any compatible device would require. In the Android world, some devices charge at 65W or more. I own one, and it’s a big lie that wannabe geeks fall for. It charges somewhere in the neighborhood of 20W, based on its capacity and charging time. Anyone who can do simple math can figure out most Android rapid charging claims are bogus.
My Android phone has a slightly larger battery than my iPhone 14 Pro Max, yet it doesn’t charge any faster. My iPhone uses a 20W charger connected with a USB-C to Lightning cable. Those Android phones with 65W chargers are gimmicks. My iPhone charges to 50% as rapidly with a 20W charger as my Android phone charges with a 65W charger.
Rapid charging stresses the battery, and no manufacturer will let you charge a phone at 65W or 95W because the battery may explode. The charger may be able to deliver 65W, but your phone’s power IC will draw the appropriate current based on battery condition, charge level, temperature, and other factors. This is usually 20W for the first 80% and then a lower wattage trickle charge for the remainder. In other words, you don’t need 240W to charge an iPhone. Like most phones, it won’t draw more than 20W.
Lightning Transmits Data at 5Gbps, Not 480Mbps
Most top-ranking articles tackling the USB-C vs. Lightning issue are factually incorrect. They claim that Lightning only supports USB 2.0 transfer speeds of 480Mbps.
Apple introduced USB 3.0 support way back in 2015, bringing data transfer speeds of 5Gbps to Apple devices. That’s almost a decade ago, but you still see 480Mbps being touted as its maximum speed.
Non-technical tech journalists also assume that any device equipped with USB-C can deliver 40Gbps or even 80Gbps data transfer speeds through a port. This claim is ignorant of bus architecture. Even an SSD tightly integrated into an iPhone can’t achieve these high-speed data transmission rates.
In 2023, the fastest read speeds for SSDs are in the neighborhood of 7000 MB/s (56 Gbps). But these are ultra-high-performance SSDs installed in desktop computers. Your iPhone doesn’t use these drives or bus architectures enabling super-fast speeds because it’s a battery-powered device requiring efficient components. The iPhone reads at about 1200 MB/s (a little less than 10 Gbps) from its SSD.
You may be thinking, with USB-C, you can plug your iPhone into an SSD that’s even faster than the stock one. It may be possible, but taking a look at the Android ecosystem, USB-C hasn’t improved port data transmission speeds.
A smartphone can’t dedicate 100% of its resources to the USB-C port. Smartphones need to be energy efficient. They have other tasks, such as maintaining a cellular connection with a tower, running background and foreground threads, and much more. Smartphones can never realize desktop performance.
The truth that most lay tech writers don’t realize is that small, battery-powered devices aren’t going to deliver desktop-class performance. Just because you put a USB-C port in an iPhone doesn’t mean you can connect your Apple smartphone to a RAID array and download 1 TB of data in a few seconds.
The notion that USB-C will speed up iPhone data transmissions is false. Even a top-of-the-line desktop computer connected to an ultra-fast SSD can’t realize USB-C speeds.
Some may say it’s future-proof, but it’s superfluous. Lightning provides enough data bandwidth to usher Apple devices into the wireless future. I don’t know any Apple customers who want a port change.
The demand for a USB-C iPhone originates from bloggers and European politicians rather than customers or the technologically astute. It’s a nuisance for the average Apple customer, but it gives the Cupertino tech giant a great excuse to make a whole class of products obsolete. If you cry foul, it’s the European Parliament’s fault, not Apple’s.
There will likely be an Apple-gate arising out of the port change. I predict a small percentage of iPhone 15 owners will accidentally plug Lightning cables into USB-C ports, with some damaging their devices. Since Apple sells so many smartphones, a small percentage is a huge problem. Apple may reject warranty claims because the user damaged the phone. When you drop your iPhone, the warranty doesn’t apply either.
Lightning Is the Right Tool for the Job
Apple developed Lightning at a time when chunky USB ports were the only standard option. In order to make slimmer iPhones, it was necessary to develop their own proprietary connector. USB-C was two years away, and it still ended up having a larger footprint than Lightning.
Lightning is simply the right tool for the job. It’s intended for mobile devices. Not only is the connector smaller, but it is more robust. If you think about the abuse a mobile device takes, the latter aspect is appealing. Apple customers pay a premium price for iPhones and iPads and expect them to last. If Apple went with USB-C, their devices would be larger and more fragile.
Apple haters recoil at the very notion of Lightning. Once again, they claim Apple is creating something proprietary. “They don’t play well with others”. This simply isn’t true. Apple was a significant contributor to the USB-C standard. They quickly adopted this standard and added it to their MacBook lineup. The slimmer design of USB-C allowed them to create the thinnest MacBooks ever, while still retaining compatibility with standard peripherals.
The fact that MacBooks use USB-C and not Lightning demonstrates that Apple conforms to standards. But they also use the right tool for the job. For iPhones and iPads, the slimmer and more durable Lightning port was a great fit.
A lot of these decisions and outcomes are based on history. Lightning debuted two years prior to USB-C. Apple needed to make slimmer iPhones right away, and existing USB technology just didn’t provide the right solution. Now that Lightning is ingrained, Apple can’t just replace it with USB-C. This would be a slap in the face to customers and accessory makers. Also, USB-C is larger and less robust than Lightning. It’s simply more appropriate for mobile devices.
Apple’s Forced Adoption of USB-C Standard Creates More E-Waste and Hassles for Consumers
The European Parliament’s primary motive for forcing USB-C on the world is to eliminate e-waste. The multinational legislative body contends that consumers throw out cables and power adapters because USB-C isn’t an industry-wide standard. Their other point is that it’s inconvenient for consumers to use multiple charging cables.
As far as e-waste, millions of accessories with Lightning connectors are destined for the landfill, just like my iHome iPhone dock. It still worked and sounded great, but I had to replace it with a Lightning-based audio dock. Next year, that too will be in a landfill, and I’ll have to buy something else.
Since USB standards change so often and there are already so many different plugs and receptacles, we can only expect this madness to continue. Apple’s dock connector lasted for well over a decade. Lightning lasted for 11 years. Now that Apple fully depends on USB standards, they’ll have to update ports and cables more frequently, which means more e-waste and problems for consumers.
The EU’s decision is par for the course with European hypocrisy. There are multiple electrical outlet configurations in the EU which still need to be standardized. Europeans are lecturing the world about sanctioning Russia as they purchase LP gas at record levels from a nation they claim to boycott.
Much like the panic over cookies, the EU has again forced the world to adopt technological paranoia. The tail wags the dog. The EU is a big tail, so whatever cockamamie regulations they concoct have to be adopted by manufacturers, or else they can’t sell their devices in Europe.
Apple will come out on top. It’s a dream come true because Apple has a scapegoat. You can’t get mad at Apple because you need to buy a new external microphone for your iPhone 15. The EU forced the company to adopt USB-C.
Furthermore, thousands, if not millions, of iPhone 15 customers will destroy their USB-C port by absent-mindedly plugging in a Lightning cable into the USB-C port. You can do this, and I have done it on accident before.
Using too much force will break the wafer-thin connector in the center of the port. Because the sizes are similar but not exact, it could potentially ruin the cable and the port. Apple will earn revenue from repairing USB-C ports. Most iPhone customers don’t follow tech news, so they’ll plug that new iPhone into the last cable they used with their old iPhone. If it’s dark and you plug the wrong cable into your iPhone (they look similar) you could break its USB-C port.
It’s clear that Apple’s switch to USB-C will inconvenience customers and create more e-waste. I completely understand Apple’s position. The EU has forced web publishers to do all sorts of things, and now you all have to deal with that obnoxious cookie confirmation box on every website.
These decisions aren’t rooted in computer science. Politicians with political agendas develop them. Remember that Android device makers such as MobiWire, Wiko, Medion, and Gigaset are based in the EU. European politicians have used similar strategies against Boeing in favor of Airbus.
Why Lightning is Superior to USB-C for the iPhone
The reality of tech journalism is that you have people with associate degrees in English writing about technology. They may know how to use an iPhone and play many video games, but they’ve never worked at a tech company or written a line of code that went into production. They write for major tech publications because they work cheaply, and a friend hired them. It has nothing to do with merit. These are easy, low-paying jobs that most people can perform. Mostly, their articles make me chuckle, but sometimes they’re dangerously idiotic.
Most tech pundits claim that USB-C is superior to Lightning because it delivers more power and faster data speeds. But Lightning already exceeds power and data throughput rates necessary for the iPhone.
Let’s look at data throughput. Lightning can deliver data at a whopping 5 Gbps. The internal SSD on an iPhone works at about 1500 MB/s, for read operations. Write operations are slower. If you plan on plugging in your USB-C-equipped iPhone and transferring video files at 80 Gbps, that won’t happen. Your iPhone’s SSD is the bottleneck.
Power is another area where Lightning exceeds what an iPhone will ever require. Apple isn’t going to let you charge your iPhone at 240W. Android phones with USB-C adapters don’t allow this either. I have a new-ish (2020) Android phone with USB-C, and it came with a 65W charger, but it doesn’t charge any faster than an iPhone with a 20W charger. They lie to consumers.
We don’t know the upper limit of power that Lightning can supply. But the iPhone 15 isn’t going to have a 10,000 mAh battery. Even if it did, rapid charging generates heat and damages the battery, which is why Apple (and all mobile device makers) install a power IC to manage charging current.
When the iPhone 15 comes out with its USB-C port, you won’t see a difference in wired file transfer speed or charging times. The only reason that port is there is to appease the European Parliament. It’s the same reason many sites flash a cookie consent banner, which is obnoxious, alarmist, and detracts from web usability.
The truth is Lightning is the real future-proof connector. There are eight different USB ports in the wild right now. With Apple joining the USB club, expect a new port on iPhone models every few years until it becomes wireless.
As with most people, I will continue to transfer files wirelessly with AirDrop and charge my iPhone at 20W, which is in the neighborhood of all smartphone charging currents. That Android phone with a 65W charger doesn’t charge at 65W. I know because I own one.
When Apple adopts USB-C for the iPhone 15, no one benefits. Sure, we’ll get a USB-C to USB-C cable in the box, which we can use with an Apple charger we already have. The iPhone and charger are not disruptive. It’s all of the accessories that are the problem. Millions of Lightning-ported accessories will end up in landfills thanks to the EU’s misguided attempt to curb e-waste.
Beyond the iPhone 15, all Apple devices and accessories will use USB-C. Beats provides a good indication of Apple’s future plans. Besides older PowerBeats Pro earphones, all new Beats products feature USB-C ports. Since Apple owns Beats, we can expect future accessories, such as Magic Trackpads and Magic Keyboards, to be equipped with USB-C ports.
It’s not the end of the world, but let’s not pretend this brings us a better planet. An iPhone with a USB-C port does not eliminate e-waste. The move will increase landfill size as iPhone owners abandon perfectly functioning Lightning accessories.
As far as the switch making life easier for consumers, USB-C cables and ports have holes that need cleaning. Instead of checking my iPhone port for lint, I must inspect both the USB-C outlet and plug for debris.
I’ve already accidentally plugged a Lightning cable into a USB-C port, and luckily, it didn’t damage it. I returned home from a long road trip and got my new Apple 20W charger in the mail. Tired from driving, I wearily plugged a Lightning cable into the charger’s USB-C port. It’s really easy to make this mistake. I’m sure it will happen again.
Plugging Lightning cords into USB-C ports will commonly occur among Apple customers. Most of us will be using both Lightning and USB-C, and it’s so easy to shove a Lightning plug into a USB-C socket, damaging that fragile silicon wafer inside.
We have to accept it. USB-C is the new standard, and Lightning is dying off. But let’s not be idiots about it. We don’t gain anything by the switch. Instead, we once again let foreign politicians control U.S. technology corporations to the detriment of actual progress.
There are better things Apple could spend time on than swapping out a port to appease European lawmakers. Meanwhile, Europe’s power socket mess, which the EU completely ignores, requires travelers to carry various adapters. If you search for whether the EU is working on its power socket mishmash, you’ll only find information about the USB-C directive.
The EU would rather dictate how an American company conducts business than sort out the electrical chaos in its own territory. The fact that the EU isn’t working on standardizing wall outlets once again demonstrates the same European hypocrisy that’s created far more severe global problems than a port switch.
Apple would be better off spending time working on real technology. The EU would be better off trying to prevent World War III. Instead, they waste years pursuing some fever dream of ridiculous and unnecessary conformity.
For most Apple consumers, a Lightning cable with a USB-A connection on one end can plug into charging ports found in virtually every hotel and supply power to almost every Apple device ever made. Even in Europe, an Apple customer can do quite well with one cable. Unfortunately, the EU’s effort to improve consumers’ lives and build a better planet has the opposite effect.
A USB-C iPhone 15 will only generate more e-waste and confusion for Apple customers. That may be the plan. If the EU really cared about standards, they wouldn’t have so many different power sockets. Some European stereos don’t use standard RCA connectors but instead employ a 5-pin connector. One has to wonder why the EU lets these oddball sockets persist while they go after Apple for a port that’s on over a billion devices.
iPhone 15 Will Feature MFi USB-C Port
It’s abundantly clear that Apple’s next iPhones will feature USB-C ports. Despite all of the clairvoyant Apple gurus who “predicted” this (after the EU’s rhetoric and actions), there seems to be some ambivalence surrounding whether Apple will launch a USB-C iPhone in 2023. They’re happy to claim an Apple Car is coming in 2026 (moved up from 2020, then 2022) but are shying away from predicting a USB-C ported iPhone 15.
Corporate tech journalists dislike reading primary sources because most can barely read or write. Cryptic legal documents create an intellectual barrier, making it difficult for someone with an associate degree in English to decipher.
Finding the EU’s primary sources took a lot of work. They were buried among poorly written, thin articles from 9-to-5 BS, Tom’s BS, BSberg, and other websites that regurgitate the dominant narrative, which isn’t formed from primary sources but created by other fictional tech narratives.
The next iPhone lineup will feature USB-C ports. Apple is already testing and certifying these units in the EU.
The EU’s USB-C regulation will take effect in 2024. Apple could wait to release a USB-C-equipped iPhone 16 next year. The company decided to do it earlier because it’s a boon.
Switching ports is an opportunity to replace devices that consumers perceive as obsolete. It’s not a technical challenge, but Apple customers would blame the iPhone maker for rendering their Lightning devices obsolete without the EU as a scapegoat.
If you buy an iPhone 15 with a USB-C port, you may need new accessories. Many of these will be made by Apple, including their upcoming 30W USB-C power adapter. The fact that the EU forced them to do this is the best possible outcome. Some will be upset with Apple, but many know the EU forced them to adopt USB-C.
Critics point out that Apple will still require MFi-certified USB-C cables for their devices. Many are crying foul, including the EU. Unfortunately, they drafted a technologically ignorant law with many loopholes.
Looking at the code and its justification, it’s clear that EU regulators know as much about technology as writers at Bloomberg, 9-to-5 whatever, and The Verge — virtually nothing. For worse or for much worse, those who are not subject matter experts get to define, regulate, and mythologize technology.
Wireless is the Future
Clickbait bloggers raised the possibility that Apple is replacing Lightning with USB-C. As we’ve covered, Lightning is still much more appropriate for mobile devices. Why would Apple replace Lightning with something that’s bigger and more fragile? They would also anger customers and accessory makers with such a move. It just doesn’t make sense.
Wireless is the future of device connectivity. This is exactly why Apple removed the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone 7. It’s why the MacBook only has one USB-C port. People are simply not plugging devices into their computers, tablets and smartphones. Wireless headphones have replaced their wired ancestors. Printers, scanners and external drives are all wireless these days. You can even wirelessly connect to some displays. As wireless technology improves, the need for cables and ports will gradually be eliminated. Apple will replace Lightning with nothing. Your future iPhone won’t have any ports, making it much more durable and waterproof. When this day comes, critics will cry foul, but the vast majority of consumers will be better off. The days of dongles, adapters and messy cables are almost over. Good riddance!
Apple Customers Could Sue the EU
The EU loves to engage US tech corporations in lawsuits. To a certain extent, it’s justified because many abuse monopoly power. However, the EU abuses consumers more than Apple in this case and others.
Forcing Apple to switch to USB-C is disadvantageous for most consumers. We have to buy new accessories to replace Lightning-compatible peripherals. Instead of one cable, we must now use two — Lightning and USB-C.
I’ve already accidentally plugged a Lightning connector into a USB-C port. Some day, I will damage a device with a moment of carelessness. I was content with Lightning. Adding USB-C into the mix doesn’t help at all.
Maybe it’s time for American consumers to fight back. Even though we don’t live in Europe, its continental government controls US tech corporations.
Based on the EU’s actions, every American has quantifiable damages. A massive lawsuit pitting American consumers against the EU would teach them a valuable lesson — don’t be so paranoid about technology.
Europe is no longer an authority on technology. The biggest and best tech companies are in the United States and Asia, not Europe. Spotify is one of the worst streaming music services. It doesn’t even support high-fidelity audio. Germany has a few decent tech companies, such as SAP and Ableton; however, socialistic practices interfere with its ability to foster world-class technology.
The EU should not hinder global advancement. They’re afraid of cookies and can’t manage two charging cables. The EU seems unaware that Apple’s chargers have featured USB-C ports for the past five years. They contend that chargers are the issue, yet Apple provides a power adapter with a USB-C socket.
Big Tech often abuses customers, but the EU isn’t getting to the marrow of the issue. They’re just nibbling around the edges and, in the process, making life difficult for consumers worldwide.
I hope some lawyer reads this and decides to take on the EU. It would be a sensational trial. The irony is that the EU recently authorized and encouraged its citizens to sue American big tech companies. It’s a sad thing. They create so little and rely on our technology for so much. How do they thank us? Suing the companies that produce their favorite products.
Europeans have options. They live in democratic nations with free markets, although there is often some government intervention. That’s true in the U.S. as well. If you don’t want to use Lightning, buy an Android phone.
Lightning is still a better technology for mobile phones. USB-C is a better option for notebook and desktop computers. Apple was intelligent enough to use the right components for specific products. Politicians don’t understand this. They want to take on low-hanging fruit to brag about their weak accomplishments.
I’m hardly conservative or an Ayn Rand disciple. But in this case, the industrialists are correct, and the government should step aside and stop hindering progress. The latent and lagging development of USB forced Apple to create Lightning. USB-C is based on Apple’s technology, with 18 employees working on the standard. USB-C might have been entirely different and less valuable or compact if the EU had hindered Apple earlier.
My concern is the slippery slope. EU regulators are already talking about the next steps. I don’t think politicians should dictate technology standards. Forcing Apple to adopt USB-C will create more e-waste and frustrations for customers. Apple’s chargers have featured USB-C ports for years. The notion that people only need one charger is already true because every Apple charger now has a USB-C port.
The EU skated to where the puck was five years ago. That’s what governments do. As unfair as the world may be, governments usually make it worse. Hopefully, Americans will stand up to the EU so they can pick the right battles. Going after cookies and Lightning ports is just tilting at windmills, and Europe is known for its many windmills.