Apple might finally ditch the Lightning connector... But not because it wants to

Apple might finally ditch the Lightning connector... But not because it wants to
UPDATE: As pointed out by The Verge, it appears the European Union's intentions have been misunderstood. Although the political union has previously encouraged the adoption of a universal port on smartphones, its latest efforts focus on the charger itself. 

Many smartphones ship with USB-A chargers these days while others are bundled with USB-C bricks, therefore creating unnecessary waste due to the incompatibility of cables. The original story continues below.

###

Apple has been using the Lightning connector on iPhones since 2012 and has so far shown no interest in replacing it with USB-C despite pleas from users. But if the European Union has its way, Apple may be forced to adopt the standard against its will.

The European Union says multiple ports are unnecessary


European lawmakers today debated (via MacRumors) whether all smartphones and tablets, in addition to other portable devices, should have a standardized port to reduce waste and increase convenience. The European Union already encourages tech companies to do so but believes efforts have so far fallen “short.” 

As such, some members of the European Parliament are now looking to pass a law that’d force companies to commit to one port in the region. The proposed options include the legacy micro-USB port, Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector, and the much more common USB-C. 

A vote on the matter is scheduled to take place during the next parliamentary session. However, there is still a strong possibility that members will vote for a voluntary approach, which would allow companies such as Apple to simply ignore the regulations.

In a response to the idea last year, Apple argued that forcing all smartphones to have the same port would “freeze innovation.” It also argued that, because more than 1 billion Apple devices have shipped using Lightning, it’d result in an “unprecedented volume of electronic waste” that’d be bad for the environment. 

Apple also suggested it could tiptoe around the regulations by including what it calls “unnecessary cables or external adapters” inside boxes. Whether the EU plans to include something to stop this, however, remains to be seen.

Apple already uses USB-C on some products


Despite its apparent reluctance to adopt USB-C on the newest iPhone models, Apple isn't totally against the popular port. In fact, it already uses the common connector on several important products and even some of its accessories.

The most obvious examples are the 11-inch IPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, which launched simultaneously back in October 2018 and will be updated in March. These tablets target more professional users, much like Apple's MacBook laptops, which also feature USB-C ports.

The Silicon Valley-based company has also added the port to many of its newest fast chargers, including the 18W power brick that ships with the iPhone 11 Pro series. However, there's also an extensive range of products that skip USB-C. 

The entire iPhone lineup is the most obvious example, although the iPad and iPad Air in addition to the iPad Mini can be added to the list. Also included is the crappy 5W charger that ships with the iPhone 11 and previous models alongside the AirPods and AirPods Pro wireless earphones that Apple offers.

FEATURED VIDEO

39 Comments

1. Eclectech

Posts: 360; Member since: May 01, 2013

Apple will not be forced to do anything they don't want to. They're far too arrogant and prefer to dictate what customers want rather than listen.

37. Duncdawg26

Posts: 192; Member since: Jan 20, 2017

So the answer is to have a government dictate to them what they should do? Keep free markets as free as possible and if you don't like their choice, don't support it by purchasing an Apple product.

40. XiPingpong

Posts: 19; Member since: Jan 26, 2019

Capitalist free markets will destroy the planet if the governments do not "dictate" the rules! Apple is restricting the free market, and destroying the planet Earth, by "dictating" that users must buy separate chargers... instead of simply borrowing one from any Android user, and Apple use their lightning connector to restrict the free market by locking users into their current ecosystem with bought peripherals..., Apple´s or Android, so I prefer that our democratically elected government "dictate" rather that having Apple "dictate"! The European Union are on the side of the people, the consumers, the are "the good guys", even though far from perfect! It is sad that so many today hate their own democratically elected representatives, their own government, especially in USA!

42. Duncdawg26

Posts: 192; Member since: Jan 20, 2017

1. Consumers aren't "the good guys", they're consumers, with real consequences to real choices: if you buy a bad product, that company will continue supplying that product. 2. Apple's chargers are "destroying the planet?" You're going with "Apple's iPhone chargers are destroying the planet?" If that's enough to destroy the planet, then you might as well give up. There's a 100,000 more destructive issues effecting the environment than apple's "oppressive chargers, " and 100,000,000 more important real life issues to devote you're spare time. 3. Accept responsibility yourself instead of electing people that say they'll save you from your bad decisions by making a more rules.

41. izim1

Posts: 1617; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Like they didnt listen when they tried to eliminate mms? Sure they made people buy a whole new iPhone, but the "feature" was offered because they listened. Not defending apple, but these "cable outrage" reports arent from their users. Their users dont really care. A charging cable is a charging cable to them. If they need a new one, they'll just buy a new one that fits. Not like going to usb-c port is going to eliminate the need to buy new cables. Just like they believe bluetooth is just as good as wired audio and nothing anyone tells them will convince them otherwise, so they have no need/desire for a mini Jack port. Apple doesn't change because they have no need to. No one is calling for them to. Their actual customers dont care. When have you ever really heard an iPhone user go "man... i wish my phone had usb-c instead of this..."? Honestly? Seriously? That never happens. Only ones complaining are those that just want to complain about apple.

2. User123456789

Posts: 1348; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

To me lightining is not the issue. But the cable is incredibly fragile.

4. Vokilam

Posts: 1442; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Really depends which brand you get. After a year all my samsung cables were showing major wear too and worse wouldnt stay in if you pull on it to reach the phone, and had to be replaced. I usually order 10pack from ebay (lightning or USB) for extremely cheap and throw them out as soon as they show too much wear.

7. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1863; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

This is electronic waste...

8. Vokilam

Posts: 1442; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

I agree, I’m sorry. At least when I own an iPhone I can easily stretch it to 4 years and then easily pass it on for more use instead of going to the dump. I also just remembered that my trash is actually being shuffled thru by human beings at the dump site - we’re paying extra for that.

11. ijuanp03

Posts: 687; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

Nah... all iPhone users (definitely you are not one of them) know that the cable will only last a few months and you need to buy another one. Sorry but nobody believes your story Vokilam.

29. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 914; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

There are some really inexpensive cables with threading to prevent wear. I´ve had some Anker ones that have lasted years without any issues. Sometimes it´s cheaper in the long run to spend a little more. You might want to look into if that´s actually a thing in the dump site in your area. You would be surprised how few areas not only do not do this but also take recycling to the dump along with regular trash.

9. darkkjedii

Posts: 31764; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

This article is about Apple, but all Vokilam did was attack Samsung. His goal was simply to deflect away from Apple.

10. User123456789

Posts: 1348; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Apple cables. Everytime I charge my iPad, I am afraid I may break it when I disconnect. My sister used to have iphone, she had to buy new cables few times. My Sony charger has cable something like twice the thickness of iPad cable.

26. cevon3239

Posts: 56; Member since: Jan 01, 2020

Really? So you use your Samsung charging cables so much, they broke? I don't believe you! I started off with the Samsung Instinct, has the Droid Charge, S3,S4,S5S6,S8, Note 2,3,4,5,7,9,10 and Note 12.2, 10.1, Tab S and more and in all that time I've had only 2 cables that broke. And that is because I used one cable with at least 5 different devices. I have NEVER bought a cable for a Samsung ever.

33. tuminatr

Posts: 1179; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

I will agree that MIcro USB and Lightning are less durable than USB C

14. cevon3239

Posts: 56; Member since: Jan 01, 2020

How is it not an issue? Its slower than USB Type C for file transfers..and yes the cables are garbage and always have been. But you know, the $1000+ iPhone which is suppose to be a premium device, shouldn't be boxed with better accessories, because no one cares. It doesn't hurt sales. Whole many OEMs use thicker higher quality cables, some even braided, but Apple gets a free pass.

35. AlienKiss

Posts: 316; Member since: May 21, 2019

Apple: You're using it wrong =))

3. Vokilam

Posts: 1442; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Well, I would have a huge issue if apple had to ditch lightning to mini/micro USB port. But I dont mind USB-C: it's reversible just like lightning and feels better when you snap it in to the port (unlike what android been using before USB-C, it felt like garbage when you plug it in).

12. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1485; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Micro USB feels like a much more secure connector than lightning or USB-C. I've at times had my phone dangle from the cable by the micro USB connector and it stayed firmly in place. USB-C has the advantage of being reversible, but isn't as securely connected. Lightning is far worse still and very frail. Even among iPhone users the consensus is that Lightning sucks.

5. cosmo100292

Posts: 13; Member since: Jul 01, 2019

“freeze innovation.” Freeze Royalty fees* Mark my words, theyre not going to give up that free money the Lightning port gives them until they have an alternative. This is why they're going to delete the port entirely instead of switching to UsbC. I guarantee you they will not be using Qi to do wireless either. Instead they will come up with their own proprietary standard to keep the Royalty checks coming and delete the last port on the iPhone. Once that is done you'll either need something wireless that connects out of the box to your iPhone or a dongle that converts it to Apples wireless standard. Either way, they're getting paid.

6. Alcyone

Posts: 613; Member since: May 10, 2018

"Unneccessary waste?" Thats a rich statement. Guessing every company thay moved from Micro USB to USB C are just earth hating people. Same as when Apple switched the the Lightning from the og connector. Shame on companies for wanting to offer faster transfer rates and easier compatibility.

15. cevon3239

Posts: 56; Member since: Jan 01, 2020

If Apple cared about speed of the able, they would have been using USB from day one. USB has been faster than any Apple connector since forever. Come on man, am sure you know this. Other OEMs move from microUSB or mini USB because the standard changed and to get more speed required a different connector. But USB is a universal standard and Apple can't make money from standard technology.

23. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1114; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

I have to disagree with you on the speed of Apple connectors. If we are strictly talking iPhone and on then you are correct, however there was a time when Apple's Firewire was superior for data and charging speed over USB. But as USB took the lead in speeds, Apple slowly made the transition away from them back in 2012.

27. cevon3239

Posts: 56; Member since: Jan 01, 2020

Firewire was Apple's knockoff version of SCSI. Yes at the beginning it was faster than USB. But not for long. Not only did USab get faster, but it daisy-chain of up to 127 devices was a more benefit vs expensive Firewire. For the most part only macs and some desktop pcs adopted firewire for a show time. As soon as USB because more available, it sealed the fate of IEEE-1394. Apple makes proprietary ports because they make money licensing it to 3rd party accessory makers.

24. Alcyone

Posts: 613; Member since: May 10, 2018

Your right. I do know that. Ever heard of sarcasm? Usb C is well over 2x the benefit of Lightning, that I know for sure. Its still a shame my S9+ had Usb C. As for my Lightning using iphone 8, thats the real winner. Glad it only cost me $50 bucks on Tmobile cyber Monday. Then, again, I'm an idiot that gave up on building pcs a while back. So, i don't know much on tech. PCI was the thing when I was building. Guess my age and enlighten me on more tech, please.

13. Krjal

Posts: 441; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

The lightning port is actually a nice design but Apple made it closed off from the majority of consumers so it was always going to lose out eventually. Real pity, it could've been improved and more widely adopted with a good open standard and licensing deals.

16. magnaroader

Posts: 47; Member since: Feb 25, 2016

USB C should be standard across all OSes and devices. Why even create fragmentation for a USB standard? I know Apple want people to pay them the big bucks but USB type c is already on their macbooks so why not on the whole iOS ecosystem as well?

21. lerimer

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 14, 2020

I haven't used a cable since the iphone X. I have wireless charging pads and have never plugged in a phone to charge, only once in a while when I'm on a car that doesn't have wireless carplay...

22. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1114; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

But wireless charging isn't where it needs to be in order to fully replace cables. It takes longer as well as creates excessive heat which will in turn wear down the life of the battery far quicker than cable charging.

25. Alcyone

Posts: 613; Member since: May 10, 2018

I do the same. Just wireless. I have 5 samsung pads laying all throughout the place. The fans do a relatively good job of keeping phones cool. Its neat to hear the fan in a silent room (nightstand distances). Fre cases on all my phones and none get warm. My 2 yr old (almost) s9+ shows no difference in battery life from day 1 till now, even as a beta for android 10. Mileage may vary, but I've never had issues. Btw, anyone need a new unused Lightning cable and earpods? Lol

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless