The iPhone is already in testing to abandon Lightning for USB-C

The iPhone is already in testing to abandon Lightning for USB-C

Photo of an iPhone 12 Pro

iPhone 12 pro
photo: Caitlyn McGarry/Gizmodo

After hot on the heels of leaks from trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who claims Apple is finally ditching its proprietary Lightning connector for the more widely used USB-C standard in future iPhones, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman adds his own credibility to the rumour. Earlier this morning he reported that “people with knowledge of the situation” shared these tests with him Replace Lightning with USB-C is already underway.

For those tired of juggling dozens of different cables, this is pretty good news. Kuo has said in the past that Apple has been reluctant to leave its Lightning connector, which non-Apple devices don’t use because it’s better for “MFI business profitability” and because it has higher water resistance than USB. But there’s nothing wrong with the convenience of using the same cable for all your devices, and Apple is all about convenience.

Let’s not give Apple too much credit for this potential move, though. When Kuo made his first leak, based on a poll of his own industry sources, he did so shortly after the EU’s Market and Consumer Protection Committee voted to legislate that would force companies to adopt USB-C on all small and medium-sized devices.

Although the Universal Serial Bus connector is becoming truly universal, this change would also give these devices the faster transfer and charging speeds that USB-C offers. USB-C cables, a newer standard than Lightning, can transfer data at up to 40 Gbps, while Lightning still surpasses USB 2’s maximum speed of 480 Mbps. Much of the Apple ecosystem gets around this by focusing on downloads, but it’s clear that Lightning is showing its age at this point.

Of course, with much of Apple’s current ecosystem built around Lightning connectors, the company would also need to develop a Lightning-to-USB-C adapter for any new USB-C iPhone or other device. According to Bloomberg, this is also in the testing phase. While a move to USB-C would be a boon for anyone just making the switch to Apple, it could be a thorn in the side of anyone who’s already bought deep into the Apple ecosystem. Third-party accessory manufacturers that make gadgets like chargers and car adapters would also have to redesign their products if this is the case change goes through.

When will the iPhone switch to USB-C?

But changes would not come until “2023 at the earliest,” according to Bloomberg. Note that when we reported Kuo’s leak, we mentioned the iPhone 15 and not the iPhone 14. In other words, don’t hesitate in buying Apple devices just because future models might be easier to connect to the rest of your devices. This change is still a long way off and is still in the rumor phase.

Overall, however, such a move would make Apple’s ecosystem fairer, as would any change away from device locking towards a proprietary standard. At the same time, Apple could work around the problem in which a completely portless iPhone that focuses solely on MagSafe charging. However, this would lock down connectivity for some cars and potentially slow down charging and data transfer speeds.

Is Apple TV getting a price cut?

The iPhone isn’t the only Apple device Kuo has used make predictions by the way approximately. Earlier today, he said Apple will “release a new version of the Apple TV that improves the cost structure” in the second half of this year.

The cheapest Apple TV that has a resolution of 1080p costs $150. The top-of-the-line 4K model starts at $179. Meanwhile, a Roku Streaming Stick that supports 4K is just $50. While we don’t know the specifics of Apple’s new “cost structure,” it’s clear that even if Apple’s premium device offerings have some wiggle room, a discount is warranted.

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