Apple, on Tuesday, launched its new iPhone lineup, introducing new features and technological updates. However, the company’s decision to replace Lightning ports on all new devices with a standard USB-C port has surprised many observers. This change, which will also be seen on the latest Apple Watch and updated AirPods, has been made to comply with a European Union ruling set to take effect in 2024 that requires manufacturers of mobile phones and other electronic gadgets to use only one universal charging port.
The new USB-C port is a reversible connection that allows wired and wireless charging, but it also supports higher data transfer speeds than the older Lightning standard. It’s the same type of port already used in most laptops and computers, and it’s starting to show up on some Android smartphones, including the OnePlus 2, which will be available next month.
While some consumers have welcomed this move, others are not happy about being forced to buy new chargers and cables. The most prominent criticism of the switch to USB-C has come from people on the right of the political spectrum, with critics like President Donald Trump and the president’s son, Eric Trump, tweeting their displeasure with the policy.
Despite these protests, it seems clear that the change is here to stay. It will be soon that all future iPhones, Apple Watches, and MacBooks will feature the new port, and the older Lightning ports on those products will be turned off over time. Apple’s decision to ditch Lightning will also cut down on the 11,000 metric tons of e-waste resulting from unused chargers each year in the EU, so Apple has decided to implement the rule even outside the bloc.
In addition to the convenience of having a single connector for all new devices, USB-C offers benefits such as faster data transfer and better battery life, especially when using a 20W power adapter for wired charging. Apple’s analysts, such as Ming-Chi Kuo, have predicted that the standard iPhone 15 will only support USB 2.0 speeds via USB-C, while the Pro models can charge up to 50% in 30 minutes with a proper power cable.
Whether or not these features make it into non-Pro models remains to be seen, but Apple will no doubt feel the impact of this decision when the iPhone 15 is released later this fall. While some people will no longer be forced to buy a proprietary Lightning cable, others are sure to pick up cheap generic USB-C ones or may use existing accessories that they have around the house, such as a USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter that will allow them to connect their iPhones to HDMI displays or other external devices. This could lead to a decrease in revenue for Apple, and it will probably take time before the company can recover from that loss.