iPhone To Switch To USB-C

John Lister's picture

Apple looks almost certain to switch to a USB-C charging port for the next iPhone. It could spell the beginning of the end for its exclusive Lightning port format.

The iPhone 15 debuts next week and is widely expected to feature the USB-C format. That's the latest version of USB and has a symmetrical plug that fits either way round.

Bloomberg lists several factors Apple is expected to market as good reasons for making the switch, though it's not clear if these are based on inside info or simply a logical assumption. The plus points include increased compatibility with other chargers, faster charging and faster data transfers. (Source: bloomberg.com)

New Rules Forced Hand

In reality, Apple has effectively been forced to make the change thanks to European Union rules which mandate a USB-C format on new phones. Unlike previous attempts to enforce a standard, this one appears to have worked. (Source: businessinsider.com)

That left Apple with three main choices: make the switch worldwide, make the switch only in the EU market, or ignore the rules and face financial penalties. It seems to have concluded the first option is the simplest.

The logic behind the rules is that having a standard format not only makes life easier for users, but reduces unnecessary environmental waste from people throwing away or replacing chargers when they switch between different brands of phone. It also means there's less need to include a charger with a new phone.

Licensing Fees Lost

Most criticism of the rules has centered on the principle of whether politicians should tell companies how to design their handsets, though some have also noted that forcing Apple to switch could mean millions of Lightning cables heading to landfill.

The switch will also have financial implications for accessory makers by significantly reducing the market for Lightning-compatible cables. It will also reduce Apple's revenue for licensing fees to use the format, commonly reported as $4 per cable.

It's also possible that iPhone users will be more willing to switch to Android handsets if they don't need to buy new chargers and data cables, though that's likely only a very small factor in the decision.

What's Your Opinion?

Are you surprised Apple is likely switching to USB-C worldwide? Is it right to have rules demanding a common charging format? How important are charging and data cables to your phone buying choices?

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jcgrande's picture

It’s about time, the lightning cable was just an Apple money grab. They should have worked collectively with other manufacturers and had a common standard. Apple was not environmentally friendly and created a lot of unnecessary waste and cost.