Apple is about to make the biggest change to the iPhone in 11 years

(CNN) — Apple is set to unveil the iPhone 15 in a few days, and it is widely expected to come with a significant change.

The iPhone 15 is rumored to ditch Apple’s proprietary Lightning charger in favor of USB-C charging, marking a milestone for the company in its adoption of universal charging. This change can speed up the charging process on various devices and brands.

The change comes less than a year after the European Union voted to pass legislation requiring smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, portable speakers and other small devices to support USB-C charging by 2024.

The law is the first of its kind to reduce the number of chargers and cables consumers have to deal with when purchasing a new device and allow users to mix and match devices and chargers made by different manufacturers.

“It’s the biggest design change for an iPhone in years, but it’s not really a drastic move,” said CCS Insights analyst Ben Wood.

This is because Apple has already switched its iPads and MacBooks to USB-C charging. However, the company has resisted the iPhone transition.

Last year, Apple’s senior vice president of global marketing Greg Joswiak publicly highlighted the value and ubiquity of lightning chargers designed to charge devices faster, but noted that “obviously we have to comply” with the EU’s directive.

“As is the case around the world, we have no choice but to comply with local laws, but we believe that approach would have been better for the environment and better for our customers than without the government. [tuviera] That perspective,” Joswiak said at the time.

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The EU’s decision is part of a larger effort to tackle e-waste in general, but there could be more in the short term as people ditch their lightning cables. (Apple should also create a Lightning cable recycling program.)

While Apple has expressed environmental concerns about the fate of older Lightning chargers, there are also economic reasons to resist the change.

History of Lightning Charger

Apple introduced the Lightning Charger with the iPhone 5 in 2012, replacing its older 30-pin dock connector with a reversible design that allows for faster charging. It also sparked a related accessories business, forcing users to buy a $30 Lightning adapter that connects the device to older docks, alarm clocks and speaker systems.

“For Apple, it’s about controlling its own ecosystem,” said David McQueen, director of API Research. “Apple makes a lot of money selling Lightning cables and many of their related accessories.”

It takes a financial cut from third-party accessories and cables that go through its Made for iPhone program. “Moving to USB Type C will remove this level of restriction because USB-C is a more open ecosystem,” McQueen said.

Additionally, Apple could create its own branded USB-C cable to “work better with iPhone,” meaning it supports high-power fast charging while minimizing risk and damage to batteries.

What does this mean for iPhone users?

It is currently unclear whether the switch to USB-C will happen to all new iPhone 15 models or Pro devices. According to Thomas Husson, vice president of Forrester Research, the switch to USB-C won’t be the only incentive to upgrade. . , but it will convince some consumers who resisted the iPhone due to its charging limitations.

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iPhone 15 devices are expected to ship with a new cable in the box, but with many mobile devices already using USB-C, including Apple’s own iPads and MacBooks, access to charging cables shouldn’t be too difficult or expensive.

“Given how widespread the use of USB-C is in other devices, it’s hard to imagine consumers being completely blindsided by this change, and since a universal charging system has some obvious advantages, it will benefit them in the long run.” Wood says.

Apple may do away with wired charging entirely to make way for wireless charging, but not anytime soon because “wireless charging is currently much slower than wired charging,” says McQueen. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Misty Tate

"Freelance twitter advocate. Hardcore food nerd. Avid writer. Infuriatingly humble problem solver."

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