Apple will finally join the rest of the world in switching to USB-C cables for charging iPhones. What pushed them over the line, and what does it mean for you?
In a nutshell, European regulators pushed Apple over the line. The European Union is a large market, and that market includes countries that are geographically close to EU members, even if they’re not members. The regulators are looking at standardizing all types of battery charging systems to reduce the number of cords and charging devices people use to cut waste. If you can use one cord (charger) for multiple devices, fewer cords and chargers will wind up in landfills after they’re worn out and discarded.
Most of the device world has gone to USB-C cords and chargers, and Apple is under pressure to ditch its Lightning cords. Rumors abound that Apple’s new iPhone – iPhone 15 is next in line for an introduction sometime this year – will have a USB-C port.
The EU’s regulations will go into effect next year, and it’s possible that Apple will only make USB-C ports available only in Europe. But that doesn’t make any business sense. We can figure on it being a reality.
So what will it mean for you as a user?
Most likely it will be speed. One respected iPhone analyst believes the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra will get USB-C ports that support data transfer speeds of up to either 20Gbps or 40Gbps, up from just 480Mbps on current iPhones. While USB-C isn’t a data standard, several types of USB-C cables exist, including USB 2.0, 3.0, and Thunderbolt 4. You’ll need to look at speed rates for each of them.
You’ll also get faster charging times. Apple’s phones currently max out at 20W charging speeds, while USB offers up to 240W. Few phones offer more than 50W charging, but Apple is still lagging behind the more recent Samsung Galaxy phones, which can charge at 45W. Access to faster charging speeds can be a significant upgrade and allow Apple to stay more competitive going forward.
USB-C also unlocks better support for accessories, including external storage, hubs and docs, external displays, keyboards, mice, etc. While all these things are already available on iPads, adding enhanced connectivity to the iPhone through USB-C will give you more choice and flexibility on how they use your phones.
You’ll be able to use the same charger that powers other devices, like your MacBook laptop or iPad, to charge your iPhone, and there’s a broad accessory ecosystem for USB-C. It’s been standard on most electronics, including many other Apple products, for the better part of the last decade. In all likelihood, this also will mean you’ll no longer feel tied to Apple-approved chargers, giving you more flexibility to shop around. The rumor mill reports that many device and charging system manufacturers will produce units to meet Apple’s standards.
Want to add one more twist? There have long been rumors that Apple has been developing a port-free iPhone, which would eliminate all cords. The entire smartphone industry shifted to Qi wireless charging several years ago, Apple included, so wireless chargers are compatible across platforms.
As you all know, we like new technology, and faster data transfer speeds may be something you justifiably need. We can help you determine if the change to USB-C is a game-changer for you. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to talk about your needs.