I am curious regarding what everyone here thinks about Apple switching to a USB-C port on their newest iPhones and cables, due to pressure from Europe.
For me personally, right now it won’t have an immediate effect, because I am still using my iPhone Xs Max from 2019, even though battery health is now down to 59%. Yes, I just keep charging it up more often than before.
However, as a phone for making calls, sending emails, video chatting, surfing the web, taking photos and videos, etc., it still works fine … unlike my Android, the back of which split open after two years due to the battery expanding.
What do I think? I really don’t care too much. I’m not going to like replacing my existing Lightning cables with USB-C cables (which I don’t have very many of right now), but I’ve already gone through that several times before - the Dock connector, micro-B connectors, etc.
And I’m going to be using my Lightning cables for quite a while because I have many old devices (iPads, iPod Touch, other phones, Apple TV remotes) which won’t all get replaced at the same time I replace my phone.
Apple yielding to pressure? Maybe, but I think they were planning on making that switch anyway. Note that certain iPad models got USB-C support a few years ago. So if the EU did anything, they forced Apple to speed up their release schedule. But I don’t think they had much more impact.
I assume Apple is (or at least should be) more concerned that the EU may now be thinking “we forced them into making this change, now let’s see what else we can force them to do”. And there are plenty of things various lawmakers would like to force on them (which we’ve already read about in the news), including third-party app stores, back doors into the security system, third-party NFC wallets, etc.
When Apple introduced Lightning in 2013, Phil Schiller said it was the interface for the next ten years. It’s 2023, so the migration to USB-C is right on schedule. I’m a little surprised that Apple did not make a cleaner break; specifically, I’m disappointed that Apple did not change the connector on its keyboards and pointing devices when they last introduced new desktop hardware.
As with the change from the 30-pin connector, those of us with legacy devices will need to hang onto the old cables for a while. However, modulo the data speed issue, things are greatly simplified for new users. Note that this was not an issue for Lightning because there was no choice; everyone got the equivalent of slow USB-C.
Alan, I find it interesting that Schiller specifically said that. In the back of my mind, I think I may have read that somewhere as well. My two iMacs are now almost seven years old for the one, and now four years old for the other. The 2017 has a fractured screen thanks to my cats, but still runs fine. But, who knows how much longer it will last. At least I have the comfort of knowing that my 2019 will be in good service for a while longer.
David C., regarding the EU pressure, I read that somewhere online recently. I can’t remember the source now. I do agree that third party app stores is worrisome. As I am sure you will agree, it creates a lot of unneeded potential for mischief of all kinds.
I actually find the switch a net benefit. I switched one cable in my car to A → C and left the rest Lightning. The real benefit arises because we have various MacBooks with C ports and so have USB-C cables in various places around the house. So when my 15 Pro needs a boost, I just plug into one of them.
I got an iPhone 15 because of USB-C. That’s how much I was done with Lightning.
Apple was going to have to switch earlier or later. I prefer earlier. So I appreciate all external (political) pressure to accelerate that. Kudos to the EU legislators for not shying away (and having the foresight to include provisions in their legislation for when something better comes along). I’d hope our very own regulators would start to learn how to regulate again. Listing all their recent failures would be far too O/T so I’ll just get off my soap box right here.
The European Commission provides the legal framework for doing business within the European Union. If a company wants to sell products within that market, they have to comply with said legal framework. Meaning that the EU did not pressure Apple into doing anything; they just decided to adopt new requirements. And Apple very obviously preferred modifying their products to comply with those requirements over being unable to legally sell non-compliant (i.e., Lightning-equipped) devices in the EU market.
And you’re right, Apple was indeed not happy about it. As quoted in this CNN article:
We [Apple] remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.
That, of course, is the usual FUD* that each and every major corporation will send out if regulators expect them to do something that they don’t like — regardless of whether it actually poses a risk to innovation, or not.
That said, I’d love to hear from Apple what, exact, innovative features the new USB-C-equipped iPhones don’t have because of that new connector type. Come to think of it, you can now charge a USB-C AirPods case right from a USB-C iPhone. Looks like that “new” connector results in an “innovation net-plus,” no?
*) Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt — Microsoft was, and is, a master in that discipline, BTW!
That’s the definition of pressure! That’s like saying the bully didn’t steal your lunch money, you just gave it up willingly because you didn’t want to get beat up, so it was entirely your choice.
That’s not the innovation Apple (and others) are worried about. The innovation is future connections that haven’t been invented yet. Because the EU mandate doesn’t foresee those and says only USB-C devices can be sold, there is now zero market for a better connector. Why invent a better connector if it can’t be sold?
Now we’re stuck with USB-C forever. There will never be anything better as there is no incentive to improve it.
That is just FUD propaganda. Of course those of use who have actually taken the time to look at the actual EU legislation know it already has actual provisions to account for the next better standard. Apple is free to develop it and show us (and the EU) what they have that’s so much better than USB-C. Lightning with it’s 480 Mbps from April 2000 certainly wasn’t that. How much longer do they need?
It’s exactly like @jochen said, Apple is reacting like every single megacorp that gets its feelings hurt when a regulator actually dares regulate them. But it’s simple. They don’t have to. They can just leave the EU and then they can stick to Lightning forever. Good luck recuperating those lost sales in wealthy and functioning non-EU entities such as freedom loving Venezuela.
Edit: For those who would like to read up on the actual legislation to see how those evil commie EU bureaucrats perhaps aren’t just galactic morons who neglected technological progress, here it is: http://data.europa.eu/eli/dir/2022/2380/oj
The USB-C issue around regulation is actually about innovation going too quickly. When USB-D (or whatever it’s called) comes out in the next couple of years, and the EU mandates it, a lot of people are going to have to throw out their USB-C cables. Great for the landfills.
Let’s stick to the topic of the USB-C connector, folks, and not go too far into the weeds of regulation.
The USB-Type A connector has had a really long run, so it seems likely that the USB-C connector will as well. It’s not about data transfer or other specs, just charging, and I suspect we’ll see continued innovation on the data side even as the connector remains stable.
I’m not sure it’s as much FUD as some might think…because of the large size of the market it’s going to be more difficult for any new connection to get a foothold due to chicken and egg problem I’m thinking. I haven’t read the specs in the legislation in detail though…but if devices are actually required to have USB-C today…how does the next new standard get started or does it have to be invented and then approved by the EU before it can be sold. If the rules are tight enough to prevent sales of existing lightning devices…I’m not sure how they can be loose enough to allow this next generation one to get off the drawing board. Not saying it’s impossible…just seems like it’s a lot harder than it would be if there wasn’t a current legal requirement to use USB-C. From your post…apparently you consider yourself one of those who have actually taken the time and understand it…so please enlighten all of us.
The laws allow other connections, in addition to USB-C.
So any company that wants to innovate will need to start selling phones with two charge ports.
More seriously, the innovation will take place elsewhere - in the US, Japan and other major non-European markets. Unless those countries also start mandating technology. Then everything will slow down, since only government-funded research groups will have any incentive to innovate.
But how much innovation are companies going to be willing to finance for a product that can’t be sold in the EU without dual charging ports (although the law may allow an adapter in the box but that’s not an elegant solution at all.
Personally, I am happy with iPhone switching to USB C and the Pro models offering USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface. Now I can plug in devices and peripherals to my MacBook Pro, iPad Pro and iPhone with the same cable, greatly reducing the need for dongles. It also makes the iPhone more useful to me in other situations, which I shared the details in this thread.
Can we just say that it’s primarily great because Lightning is just terrible?
How often have I believed my device was charging (yes, I forgot to check, immediately, which shouldn’t be necessary) and … when I get back, well, it wasn’t or it was intermittent?
And the hypocrisy of “environmentally conscious” while cranking out millions and millions of the old school rubbery coated “charging” cables that just fail SO quickly: fray, “delaminate” and worst, just fail internally without warning and you have to figure out which one to throw away or “recycle”…?
The new woven cables are such an enormous sea-change improvement; which they should be for the $$$. Please forgive the rant but I have zero problem with regulating USB-C to speed along the Massive Manzana!!