The European Commission – as it often and willingly manages to do – has decided to move hardware manufacturers and put an end to the fragmentation and proliferation of proprietary connectors in mass electronic devices.
The announcement – Pulling the plug on consumer frustration and e-waste: Commission proposes a common charger for electronic devices – immediately created a lot of controversies, mostly related to Apple and the iPhone world: with the new EU policy that would require all smartphones to adopt USB-C ports for physical charging in an attempt to reduce electronic waste, even the reluctant Apple would be forced to do so.
Apple, of course, does not offer USB-C on the iPhone, as it appears that the connector change would have a direct negative impact by disrupting the hundreds of millions of active devices and accessories used around the world, creating an unprecedented volume of electronic waste. The same thing happened with the transition from the 30-PIN connector to the Lighting one, but in that case, it was not a problem for Apple because the new Lighting was still proprietary – and not free and open like USB-C – and would still have brought income from the royalties.
Switching to USB-C could actually be more expensive than sticking with Lightning connectors since customers would need new cables and adapters; but Apple is already offering USB-C ports on its iPads and MacBooks and did the switch on those popular products without any issues.
Apple changes the iPhone connector every 10 years. Will 2022 be the year of USB-C?
Apple is happy to keep the money it makes from Lighting and to have control over all iPhone peripherals. There could be numerous reasons why iPhones 13 still use Lightning, and there are numerous reasons why you need to switch to USB-C.
The original 30-PIN dock connector was surprising for the time because it supported analog video output, analog audio output, digital audio, and allowed Apple to expand the capabilities of its devices while maintaining inclusion in the ecosystem. The Lightning connector was introduced in 2012 to improve the 30-PIN characteristics and, at the same time, provide a thinner and more elegant, as well as comfortable connector.
USB-C in 2021 is superior to Lightning in everything, and especially in data transfer speeds. If you are a professional and work with your smartphone, USB-C is a must, there is still no AirDrop that can replace it. This Apple knows, it knows well. If we check the way to change the hardware in their own devices from Apple, in the phones, they change the connector every 10 years. They went from Firewire to 30-PIN in 2002 and then from 30-PIN to Lighting in 2012. It’s almost self-evident that the switch from Lightning to USB-C will happen in 2022. Speaking of money, there are not many third-party royalties. parts on Lighting that have affected Apple, but the obligation to maintain the same connector for accessories 10 years, 10 of the contract that they give to manufacturers who certify with the MFi program.
Many say that Apple after Lighting will permanently remove the physical connector from iPhones to keep MagSafe wireless charging and wireless transfers only. Personally, we believe it is the most likely move, the most Apple move, in spite of professional users, lovers of physical connectors, and, above all, the European Commission. Such a pity.
References and resources
Why Does the iPhone Still Use Lightning? Slashdot – https://apple.slashdot.org/story/21/09/27/228230/why-does-the-iphone-still-use-lightning
The Lightning port isn’t about convenience; it’s about control | The Apple Verge – https://www.theverge.com/2021/9/24/22690338/apple-iphone-lightning-ports-convenience-control-usb-c-eu-wireless-charging-mfi-magsafe
The new Apple iPhone 13 Pro | Superpowers but still with Lighting Port – https://www.apple.com/iphone/