I’m getting teary-eyed, and I can’t help it. Why the emotion? Because after years of stubbornly using the Lightning connector on the iPhone, a new leak says that Apple will make the switch to USB-C next year.
I’d normally be quite skeptical about such a claim, but this one comes from one of the most reliable Apple analysts, Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), who has an impressive track record when it comes to predicting upcoming releases and features. He wrote in a tweet, citing an unspecified survey, that the iPhone arriving in the second half of 2023—presumably the iPhone 15—will ditch the Lightning connector for USB-C, a change that could enhance transfer and charging speeds. He noted, however, that “the final spec details still depend on iOS support.”
Before we give Apple too much credit, the company is currently being backed into a corner by the EU’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, which voted last month in support of legislation that would force companies to adopt USB-C on all small and medium-sized gadgets. The rule is intended to simplify things for customers and reduce e-waste.
Kuo had previously said Apple had no intention of swapping out Lightning connectors for USB-C, even though the company uses the iniquitous standard on its iPad tablets and Macs. “We believe that USB-C is detrimental to the MFi business’s profitability, and its waterproof specification is lower than Lightning and MagSafe,” Kuo wrote.
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It was assumed Apple would then skip the USB-C phase and go from a Lightning connector to a completely portless phone that relied on wireless charging. This way, it could expand its MagSafe accessories, drawing in revenue, while making its phone even more waterproof. Kuo did note, however, that MagSafe’s ecosystem isn’t ready for primetime and that Apple would continue to use Lightning “for the foreseeable future.”
Apple might still phase out ports altogether; if it does, there could be an awkward transition phase where iPhone owners will need to replace their Lightning chargers for USB-C, the port found on nearly every modern gadget besides the iPhone.
Not everyone will be in favor of this change, and those who have stashed Lightning cables over the years will be understandably infuriated. If it’s any consolation, iPhone owners who are invested in Apple’s ecosystem likely already own a USB-C cable.