Apple is known for its innovations in tech and reinvented the cellphone by creating the iPhone. Although the company has done amazing things in the tech world, one thing in particular has been bugging Apple fans for years: the Lightning cable.
A Lightning port has been on every iPhone since 2012, and although it’s a good connector, it actually makes life hard for iPhone owners because it forces them to keep different cables around. Thanks to EU legislation, Apple is now required to equip all iPhones with a USB-C port as a standard beginning with the iPhone 15.
Although Apple isn’t happy, this is a win for everyone.
What’s wrong with Lightning?
There are a few main problems with Lightning: data transfer is slower than USB-C, has less maximum wattage, which impacts charging speed, and it can only be used on Apple products.
Born from a need to transition away from the cumbersome 30-pin connector, the Lightning cable was a revolutionary invention. It was reliable, compact, and much easier to connect than Micro USB. Technically, it can do just about everything anyone might need. It can take an iPhone from 50% to 100% battery life in around 30 minutes, and can carry a 1080p video signal. However, ten years later, the Lightning cable is an inconvenience.
The problem is that almost every other popular device uses USB-C, like GoPros, various game consoles like Nintendo Switch, and even MacBooks and iPads. This makes charging frustrating for people who own Apple accessories that require Lightning and other tech gadgets. You have to use at least two different charging cables to power your tech toys.
All of this doesn’t sound too bad on the surface, but when you consider how smooth the Apple experience is normally, using different charging cables is a bit disruptive to your flow. For example, if you’re hanging out with friends who all use Android devices, you can’t borrow a cable to charge your phone.
The iPhone 15 is better with USB-C
There’s no doubt that USB-C makes the iPhone 15 better. The device itself is already a considerable financial investment at $800+, and iPhone fans will appreciate the ability to charge most, if not all of their devices with the same cord. When you’re spending that much money on a phone and all the necessary accessories, like a top-of-the-line rugged case and extra storage, you expect convenience. That’s exactly what the USB charging port brings back to Apple devices.
So far, people have been happy about the switch. However, there’s just one flaw that will need to work itself out over time. Certain Apple accessories are still using Lightning cables.
Will Apple move away from Lightning completely?
There are certain Apple devices that require a Lightning cable and cannot be charged wirelessly, like the AirPods Max. The Magic Trackpad and Keyboard also use a Lightning cable, and these are pretty standard accessories for Mac users.
Considering how positively people are responding to the iPhone 15 being charged with USB-C, it makes sense that Apple fans would be equally enthusiastic about being able to charge their accessories with the same cable. It’s not too difficult to use different chargers, it’s just not convenient and easy. Apple was founded on making the user experience simple and easy, so having to use multiple cords for different devices goes against that.
Hopefully, Apple will start making accessories with USB-C connectors and will phase out devices with Lightning ports. Having the same cable for all devices would be extremely convenient for everyone.
Ten years ago, Lightning connectors gave Apple a serious advantage over the devices using micro-USB, but those days are over. Competitor devices have mostly stopped using micro-USB and are now using USB-C, so there’s no advantage to sticking with Lightning. It could be argued that devices using USB-C actually have the advantage now.
Apple made the right move
Despite resistance to the EU legislation requiring the USB-C port for charging all phones, Apple had no choice but to remove the Lightning port from its devices. However, the company could have kept the port on phones sold in the U.S., but they decided to make all iPhone 15s universally equipped with the USB port.
This was the right move, and is a good indication that moving forward, Apple will be transitioning accessories to USB-C, and there is hope for a Lightning-free future.