Apple Exec Confirms That Apple Will Go USB-C On The iPhone… Why You Should Not Get Excited Just Yet

In the last few days, the EU confirmed that any mobile device such as a mobile phone needs to have USB-C. Since pretty much every mobile phone out there has USB-C already, this means that Apple will have to ditch the 12 year old Lightning standard and go to USB-C. Yesterday, Greg Joswiak, also known as “Joz” confirmed in a Wall Street Journal interview that Apple would be complying with this law. I have the video posted below and I encourage you to watch the whole video as a whole number of topics were covered and it makes for interesting viewing:

Now. Apple finally ditching Lightning after 12 years is a good thing. I am all for that as that’s one less cable that I have to remember to carry on my next trip. But before you stop traffic and hold a parade, consider this. The European Union only addressed the physical connection. And that’s where the potential problems start. USB-C can be used for everything from USB 2.0, which would make the transfer speeds no faster than they are, to Thunderbolt 4. The latter would be a massive boost for transfer speeds and make a lot of people who use iPhones to shoot Pro Res video in 4K very happy. But only if Apple goes that route.

Consider these scenarios:

  • Apple ditches ports entirely, which would in theory comply with the EU law the way I read it. Now there have been rumours of Apple going this route for years to avoid being forced to use USB-C. But I don’t see them doing that. At least not yet.
  • Apple switches to USB-C but they also keep the USB 2.0 speeds that Lightning has. That way they can plausibly say that they comply with the new EU law. Plus for bonus points they may also introduce their own “feature” for fast data transfers off iPhones.
  • Apple switches to USB-C but they also keep the USB 2.0 speeds that Lightning has for the “regular” iPhones. And they go to Thunderbolt 3 or 4 for the “Pro” iPhones. That way they force people who care about fast data transfer speeds to spend more money.
  • Apple switches to USB-C but they go to Thunderbolt 3 or 4 for the all the iPhones. I don’t see them doing that as that would not be the Apple way of doing things since they couldn’t make extra money by doing so. But I am free to be surprised.

Beyond that, USB-C also opens up the possibility of faster charging speeds. So the iPhone could be like many Android phones that do 40W, 50W or even 100W or more of charging. But would Apple go that route or would they stick to the 20W charging that has been on iPhones for a while now? That’s a good question. My guess is no they won’t because Apple really cares about battery health. But again, I am free to be surprised.

These are all things that I suspect will not be addressed until this time next year when the new iPhone appears because Apple isn’t the sort of company to put their cards on the table so to speak. Thus while this move to USB-C is a good thing, you may have to temper your enthusiasm until more details surface in regards to what that means for iPhone users.

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