Apple recently announced a brand new iPad that is the best entry-level iPad ever made, despite some strange design decisions. One not-so-curious decision is to switch from Lightning to USB-C, but until then, it’s also a hint of the chaos to come.
See, Apple’s new 10th generation iPad comes with a USB-C port instead of the familiar Lightning. That’s a good thing for reasons we’ll get to, but Apple finds itself stuck in a dilemma as a result. Namely, the tablet is only compatible with the first generation Apple Pencil – and it uses Lightning to charge it. The answer, in typical Apple way, is a dongle. It is impractical and impolite. Unfortunately, it is not a subsidiary of Apple. Just ask the owner of an older MacBook Pro whose drawers are filled with similar dongles.
But if you think it’s bad now, just wait for your iPhone to switch to USB-C. However, all this will come in handy. Transitions are just transitions. And they finished. When they do, all the pain is forgotten. We just need to get there first.
To understand what’s coming, we first need to look at why all this is happening.
Regarding the iPhone, Apple has finally confirmed it – the USB-C iPhone is coming. But it won’t come because Apple wants it. It’s coming as the European Union (EU) prepares for its mandate, starting in 2024.
When this authorization begins, all smartphones, earphones, and other personal electronic devices must transition to a common charging standard. In this case, USB-C sees because Apple is the very weird company to use something else. There was no way Samsung, Motorola, and the rest would move to Lightning, right?
As for why the EU wants to push Apple towards USB-C, it’s all pretty simple – junk chargers are said to create about 11,000 tons of e-waste each year, and having everyone use one type of cable means people switching from the iPhone To Android and back you don’t need to buy new charging accessories when they do. It is better for the environment if we all use one type of cable.
Furthermore, Joseph Sekela, Minister of Industry and Trade, hit the nail on his mind when he confirmed that the mandate was now official. “We all have at least three cell phone chargers at home,” Sekela said, adding that “looking for the right charger, whether at home or at work, can be very annoying.” It’s hard to argue with that. And even in all Apple households, iPad chargers are no longer the same as iPhone chargers. This is a mess.
Ironically, the environmental aspect is one of the aspects you might imagine Apple could fall right behind on. The company regularly talks about its environmental segments, shares press releases about its wind farms and tells us about the suitability of its new products for the planet. Maybe that’s how you’ll explain the transition to USB-C when it finally comes. We’ll find out soon enough.
Whether or not what the EU says is the whole story, only the people inside really know. we an act Know that Apple and the European Union have been at odds over the idea of a shared charger for years. Then there are the persistent antitrust issues in the App Store that keep coming up well.
In the end, Apple and the European Union are not always best friends. Will the EU pay by delegating a common charger just to stick with Apple? of course no.
Sell USB-C transmission
And to sell it, Apple will need it.
At any given moment, millions upon millions of iPhones are connected with Lightning cables, and they are charging away. Then there are those connected to cars for CarPlay, too. And those who transmit photos, videos, etc. Whatever they do, there are plenty of them. And they all do this using the cable that came in the box or one of the many cables in a tray somewhere.
People have a lot of lighting cables.
And then there are the docks. Shipping stands. And… I got the idea. Apple and its third-party partners have been selling accessories built around the Made For iPhone (MFi) program for a decade now. Apple introduced the Lightning connector in 2012, and people have a whole bunch of cables and what not to use. Even a first-generation Apple Pencil uses it, as I mentioned earlier.
As someone who lived through the transition from the 30-pin Dock connector to Lightning ten years ago, let me tell you this. people got crazy. Even today, people are accusing Apple of changing cables regularly to get more money from them. In fact, the 30-pin Dock connector has been around for nearly ten years, and the Lightning cable will be around for even longer by the time it’s gone for good. Apple doesn’t change cables very often at all. But you’re trying to tell that to people on Twitter.
Of course, it’s not limited to iPhones. The EU mandate also requires that you use USB-C headphones from 2024 onwards, including AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. Then there are older accessories like the Apple Pencil and EarPods. Remember those?
“The move to USB-C will mean that some Apple accessories such as the Apple Pencil or EarPods will need an adapter, which will create more electronic waste as consumers transition, potentially annoying users who expect to experience regular Apple products.” CCS Insights analyst James Manning Smith says (Opens in a new tab). “While this will create some difficulties in the short term, long-term consumers will benefit from this move.”
However, there is an extra wrinkle. USB-C may be the common cable to rule them all, but what happens next? Apple argues that the EU will stifle innovation with this mandate because companies won’t spend money to create competing connectors if they can’t be used. Even if we take a more optimistic view that they will, there is a chance that the EU will leave everyone stuck with old technology anyway.
“USB-C is currently doing a good job as a connectivity solution, but the EU will need to follow up briefly on how the technology evolves to ensure that imposing this standard does not hamper future technology improvements,” Smith notes.
We all win, in the end
Realistically, moving the iPhone to USB-C is something that probably should have already happened. Lightning’s file transfer speed is pretty slow in a world where the iPhone records videos with ever-increasing file sizes. And who doesn’t love USB-C? My house is full of USB-C cables between the iPad Air and the iPad Pro that we’ve combined with the Nintendo Switch, too.
“The EU mandate is a victory for common sense,” Smith says. “Although Apple has a huge base of lighting cable-powered lighting devices, the ubiquity of USB-C across all consumer electronics products means that formatting over USB-C makes perfect sense.”
Even taking eco mode out of the equation, there is little argument against USB-C being the best iPhone cable in the long run. After we replaced all of our tubs, cables, and mounts, that is.