Why Apple's hesitation on USB-C for iPhones?

Didn’t we just have this conversation? I’ll repeat my point from earlier: standardization is enormously valuable for economic growth and advancement. Historical examples abound: the standardization of railway gauges; of time differences; of what side of the road to drive on.

Some of these were driven by business, some by governments, but all were critically important in helping society and economies develop.

(And, I note, focusing on a single space for standardization ignores the way in which standardization in one place makes innovation in another possible. The rise of containerization in shipping is a key example – by standardizing cargo sizes, containers allowed the global economy to become much more interconnected and effective, an innovation way more important than anything that would have happened in the “size of the cargo pallets” space).


Bundling has nothing to do with it. Apple solved the problem by making chargers with detachable cables. If Apple still sold chargers with permanently attached non-USB C cables, it would have had to modify them going forward to comply with the EU regulation.

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Alright, let’s wind this down—we’re starting to go in circles.


I have many issues with lightning cables ; sometimes it works, sometimes not.
I bought and throw out may cables.
The speed is a concern for me since I have more than 10000 pictures on my iPhone, organized in albums.
When I want to add one picture this stupid device reload the 10000 at the speed of a walking man, not high speed train !
I want to change my iPhone 7 and it will be a USB-C one or another brand.
I reject closed system like lightning !

  1. All cables, regardless of standard, fail from time to time. I’ve had just as many USB cables fail as Ligthening cables. But I will admit that Apple’s Lightening cables are not the best - I’ve had much better results with Anker’s cables.

  2. USB-C does not specify any particular speed. A device can choose to support USB version 1 (1.5 or 12Mbps), 2 (480 Mbps) or 3 (5, 10 or 20 Mbps) using a type-C connector. And, as we’ve just seen with the latest iPad, Apple is running USB 2.0 (same speed as Lightening) over USB-C for at least some devices.

    A type-C connector is required for the highest speeds (20 Mbps and up), but there is nothing requiring a type-C device to support any particular speed.

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What is quite good about EU law is that they have quite well defined the charger standard, not only the cable. Because that is generally a mess with Quick charge, 5W, 12W and a numerous other type of USB charge standards that makes it completely confusing to what charger to use.

Yes, it is definitely a good thing and glad the EU pushed it through. So happy to use USB-C for my IPad Pro. Actually it’s one of the incentives in holding off upgrading my 11 Pro until the 15 Pro comes, whether wireless or USB-C or both, which is what I suspect it will be.

The use of Android is far higher here in the EU than in the US, and even more so, of course, beyond the West.

Sufficient time has passed that it is now clear to most people that USB-C is the best connector to have on any computing device. Apple has been absurdly hanging on to an obsolete connector which never achieved its potential, mostly because Apple prevented data and other innovative uses which they themselves had made part of the Lightning protocol.
As USB-C—which Apple introduced to the world, on the 2015 MacBook—has now proven to work, there is the need for what you call the “nanny state” to give a little kick in the rump of another dictator of what we are allowed to have. Thank God for the EU, else we’d be stuck having to have two different connectors to charge our Apple products for the next 50 years! It’s quite clear that Apple never intended to abandon Lightning. When I saw the iPhone 14 with its silly Lightning connector, I realized I’d have to wait yet another year before replacing my aging iPhone X, and pray that Apple would capitulate on this issue. In a perfect world, everyone would refuse to buy Lightning iPhones, but alas consumers rarely are able to resist their desire to purchase, in order to exert the necessary pressure to force change in multinational consumer electronics.


The whole nanny state thing is BS. It’s not about nanny, it’s about where you draw the line. The “nanny state” is the reason I can’t buy a car without seatbelts or parking brake. I’d wager 99% of us want that nanny state. Some of us apparently don’t want the “nanny state” that dictates USB-C. That’s OK. I do. And that’s OK too. That’s that line. But next topic, and people will again draw a different line and choose a different side of that line to get on. Nobody can honestly say they are against that line entirely or that they always fall on the same side of that line regardless of topic. And when they do, just ask them about defense spending or upholding private property. :wink:


It’s really about how much companies should be regulated by the government rather than by the market. Seat belts and parking brakes are safety considerations. Forcing USB-C is another thing entirely…and while there are some pros to the EU forcing that requirement there are some cons as well.

Apple has obviously not gone USB-C across the line…and I’m pretty sure that nobody here knows all the reasons why they have not chosen to do so…including me…but I’ll wager it wasn’t a simple decision on their part but much more a nuanced one.

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In my case, MagSafe saved the life of my now elderly MacBook Pro on a few occasions. Though I am now retired from full time work and not spending much time in airports, on public transportation, visiting clients, in Starbucks or hotel rooms, I think there are many owners of Apple devices that will prefer product safety and are willing to sacrifice a few minutes in charging speed.

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I’ve cut out some of the opinions about government regulation and government in general, and let’s please not go down that path or I will start deleting complete posts and eventually lock the topic.

I will say that I’m not sure what more there is to say here.

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And that’s where you draw the line – as Simon was saying.

This discussion reminds me how useful standardization actually is because I keep thinking of examples and what the counterfactual looks like. Power outlets, eg. Imagine a United States in which there was no standardized power outlet.

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There’s $$$ involved too. Apple gets paid for every Lightning cable made. Not so (yet) for USB-C.

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The profits on cables are miniscule. Apple doesn’t even make much money on the few model of cables they sell…just look at the prices and compare to the rest of Apple hardware…it won’t even be chump change.

And I think I would not be alone among the many billions of owners of Apple devices that are using perfectly good lightning cables and docks; I would greatly resent having to throw them into the garbage and spend a significant amount money for a bunch of USB-C stuff that I don’t see any compelling advantage in owning.

I’ve been a loyal Apple hardware user since 1985, and when it comes to USB-C, I “think different.” I hope the US doesn’t institute USB-C requirements.

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We can agree to disagree…I’m good with that.

I certainly understand you on the point about MagSafe. I was actually referring to the Lightning and USB-A versus USB-C debate. I meant that USB-C seems to have proven itself a capable connector, so it should work fine on iPhones.

I certainly don’t oppose MagSafe at all, on laptops or iOS devices. In fact, I wished I could stick a Qi disc to my iPad Pro when I got it in 2020 instead of dealing with USB-C for routine charging. Naturally the iPad is too large to put atop a Qi pad, but it seems those electronics could be used in a disc that could adhere to the iPad, much like the “MagSafe” v3 that Apple touts for newer iPhones.

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For clarity: none of this threatens MagSafe.

MagSafe is always provided in addition to USB-C (Macs) and Lightning (iPhone). It doesn’t have to go anywhere because all the EU requires is that USB-C be there for charging. Apple is free to add MagSafe (or whatever else they’d like) as long as they provide USB-C charging. And they do (or will, in the case of iPhone) so all is good.

The law already includes exemptions for small devices such as Apple Watch.

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Simon, with regards to USB-C port robustness: First, I will say it’s better now. But I can also say that I had to have at least a half dozen of the Macbook Pro 15" (the ones with the abomination butterfly key mechanisms) sent back to Apple for motherboard replacements due to loose USB-C ports. Fast-forward to now and sometimes I have concerns that the USB-C port is TOO tight. :roll_eyes: If I look into the port, and see the thin little plastic contact carrier on the inside (the male part that slots into the female part of the cable connector) yeah, I totally see failure modes all over that. (Anecdotally, I also have seen a USB-A port in the back of an old PowerMac G4 where the contacts somehow got mooshed up and would arc when inserting a cable. That was scary.) But then I think of how many Android phones are out there, many that are REALLY budget oriented, and they all have USB-C ports, and I wonder what is the failure rate for those cheap devices?

Haha, then I think of the standard soup that actually is USB-C, and I start to wish someone in the industry with enough clout would seriously look at consolidating all that mess, and while they are at it, developing an actually robust connector. LIke, could we have Lightning 2 with quick charge and robust data transfer speeds?

But, with Apple’s movement over the years from 30-pin dock to Lightning to Mag Safe inductive charging, to increasing water resistance ratings, and the reliance on iCloud services for automatic consumer level data transfer, I can see how Apple is ITCHING to remove ALL ports from phones. And I agree that pushing megapixel counts and ProRes video and the need for power users/pros to get that data off the phone is at odds with this apparent evolution. (Not to mention I personally don’t think inductive charging is the Greatest Thing Evar™️ knowing how terrible it is efficiency-wise…)

It’s not goin

Don’t make me post that XKCD cartoon again.

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