Why your next iPhone will have a USB-C port

by George Lovell | | 0 comments

Back in May, we posted an article suggesting that your next iPhone might have a USB-C port.

Well, it turns out we were right.

Company executives at Apple have confirmed that future iPhone models will indeed have a USB-C charging port as opposed to a lightning port.

This is primarily due to pressure from EU regulators, who have submitted a mandate which states that all smartphones sold in the European Union from 2024 must be equipped with a USB-C port. This obligation will extend to laptops from 2026.

A universal charging solution is more practical for consumers, will reduce unnecessary costs, and electronic waste, which is harmful to the environment.

Estimates suggest that this law will cut electronic waste by 11,000 tons annually and save consumers £217 million a year. 

Side Note: We almost certainly take for granted all the ways in which the EU enforces regulations to the benefit of the consumer.

In their statement, Apple executives expressed their reluctance to comply with the law, suggesting that the EU has forced their hand at the expense of their customers and the environment.

Clearly, being "forced to switch" by a "prescriptive government" is an attempt by Apple to deflect blame onto the EU, using them as a scapegoat to quell dismayed iPhone users.

Apple have resisted this transition for some time - the European Commission have been asking manufacturers for voluntary compliance since 2009!  Nevertheless, the lightning port first appeared in the iPhone 5 in 2012 - 10 years ago. Other smartphone manufacturers have been using USB-C since 2015, with it becoming commonplace by 2017.

Apple have been gradually advancing their product range in this direction, with most MacBooks and iPads now supporting USB-C. It seems like it was a matter of time before the iPhone followed suit.

The lightning cable is a propriety product which is part of a branded ecosystem. In other words, it is a patented, trademarked product which can only be used for a specific application - you need to buy our cable (for £19) in order to charge our phone. By trapping people in their ecosystem, Apple generate extra profits.

To give credit where it's due, when Apple transitioned from the 30-pin connector to the lightning connector, people were outraged because they were forced to switch, despite the fact that lightning was far superior to its predecessor; but also to Micro-USB; which was universal in Android phones at the time. Following on from this indignation, Apple vowed to keep lightning for at least 10 years, to which they have kept their word.   

This law is exclusive to the European Union. Other markets, including the UK and the US, have not imposed the regulation. Apple could choose to integrate a USB-C port into their European spec iPhones, and retain the lightning port in iPhones sold in other markets. This does seem unlikely though, as it would result in significantly greater design and manufacturing costs.

How will this shift benefit you?

> USB-C charging allows for higher current and higher voltages, which means faster charging. Some new phones with USB-C can charge at 100W; fully charging the battery in less than 30 minutes!

> Faster data transmission - transfer photos, videos and files between device 10x faster with USB 3.0, as opposed to USB 2.0 (Lightning).

> Wider compatibility. Imagine having one cable to connect Android phones & tablets, Windows PCs, monitors, speakers, game consoles, MacBooks, iPads, and now; iPhones.

> More manufacturers = more options and better quality at lower prices.

When will it come?

The law won't be imposed until 2024, so we think that it's unlikely that the iPhone 15 will have a USB-C port. If anything, it might be reserved for the iPhone 15 Pro & Pro Max, before becoming universally adopted in the iPhone 16 series.

Thanks for reading!

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