In 2023, Apple agreed to comply with the European Union's requirement that all phones sold within the EU be equipped with a USB-C port for wired charging. After sticking to Lightning connectors for over a decade, it's certain future iPhones will come with a USB-C port.
There are several reasons why this is a positive development for Apple users, some of which we will detail below.
1. A Single Charger for Your Apple Devices
Apple added USB-C ports to MacBooks way back in 2015 and brought them to iPads in 2018. In response to the EU, as reported by Bloomberg, Apple claimed that it has no choice but to comply with the EU's regulations and that ditching the Lightning port would cause a lot of e-waste.
Due to the rising popularity of USB-C, Apple's switch to USB-C will make it possible for people to charge their iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks with the same cable. This move, we think, will actually help to reduce e-waste and make things more convenient for people at the same time.
2. Faster Charging Speeds
USB-C Power Delivery can deliver up to 240W of power, while Lightning can only supply up to 12W natively. USB-C can therefore deliver enough power to charge larger devices such as laptops and power banks quickly.
Apple's Fast Charge feature for iPhones requires a USB-C to Lightning cable to work and uses USB Power Delivery to supply more power than Lightning natively supports.
The switch to USB-C will remove the limitation that Lightning represents and allow for much faster charging speeds. This will be especially beneficial for users who are on the move frequently and use their iPhones heavily throughout the day.
3. More Versatile Connectivity
USB-C is a much more universal standard compared to Lightning. It can be found on different devices, from displays to gaming consoles and even household appliances. Lightning, on the other hand, is only still in use today due to Apple's insistence on keeping it on iPhones.
The USB-C chargers for iPhones can be reused for several other purposes, saving you money and reducing e-aste. Also, since most smartphones no longer include chargers in the box, you can easily reuse a USB-C cable from another device (as long as it has the appropriate power rating).
4. Faster Data Transfer Rates
Besides being capable of much faster charging, USB-C also makes it possible to transfer data at rates more than a hundred times faster than what Lightning offers.
With the USB4 v2.0 specification, USB-C can reach data transfer speeds as high as 80Gbps, while Lightning cables are limited to 480Mbps. This vast difference in transfer speed shows just how much of a technological leap USB-C is over Lightning.
Although this increase in data transfer speed won't matter to casual iPhone users, it will be valuable to people who have to move large files frequently, such as photo and video editors.
Hopefully, Apple will also enable the USB On-The-Go feature to allow iPhones to act as a USB host and connect to USB flash drives, video game controllers, keyboards, mice, and even printers.
5. Support for More Third-Party Accessories
Apple's switch to USB-C will make it much easier for people to use third-party accessories with their iPhones. For a company that prefers to keep its ecosystem tightly walled in, this is no doubt causing a great deal of uneasiness. After all, Apple’s Wearables, Home, and Accessories sector made $6.5 billion in the third quarter of 2020, according to Business Insider.
A USB-C iPhone will be able to choose from a wider range of third-party accessories, which should be more affordable since they don't require an MFi-certification from Apple. USB-C could potentially open new ways to use your iPhone, such as a gaming controller or a secondary display.
Bye Lightning, Hello USB-C
When Apple first introduced the Lightning connector, it was ahead of its time, but it has failed to evolve over the years. USB-C is perfectly suited to take its place and offers several improvements over Apple's outdated connector.
As iPhone users anticipate the switch to USB-C, it is important to remember that this change may not have occurred under the best of circumstances, but it is definitely for the better.