Don't expect the USB-C iPhone 15 to also offer faster charging

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Don't expect the USB-C iPhone 15 to also offer faster charging
After the recent passage of the common charging standard requirements in the European Parliament, Apple will have to equip the last holdouts among its devices that feature a Lightning port, with a USB-C one by the end of 2024.

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple won't be waiting for the iPhone 16 to fulfil the European Commission's common electronic device charger mandate. It will reportedly release the first iPhones with USB-C charging port next year, in time for the iPhone 15 crop. Naturally, it won't only equip the Pro models with a more modern charger, but the whole series, starting with the lowly iPhone 15.

That would only leave some AirPods models out of the USB-C loop, so the next generation of those will most likely feature the new port as well. Speaking of ports, Apple is publicly disagreeing with the European Commission's mandate on the grounds of stifling innovation, and may be planning to move to portless all-wireless inductive charging for its mobile devices "in the next few years," mulls Gurman.

For now, however, it is preparing the first iPhones with a USB-C port behind the scenes and has been doing it for a while now, in expectation of the European Parliament's common charging standard law ratification.

The law is only going into effect from 2025, and is only valid for new and upcoming devices, so for the next two years Apple can still release iPhones with a Lightning port like, say, the rumored 2024 iPhone SE 4

That one is said to have a notch with Face ID and be based on the iPhone XR design, so it could easily skip the USB-C mandate which won't be necessary before its next eventual iteration in the spring of 2026.

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The common USB-C charging standard mandate will extend to laptops precisely in the spring of 2026, and Apple plans to preempt that deadline as well, by issuing new Mac accessories like mice and keyboards with USB-C charging ports next year, in time for the big Mac and Mac Pro upgrades then, reports Gurman.

Will the iPhone 15 feature fast charging?

The USB-C charging port is able to deliver much more power and provide faster data transfers than the Lightning one that it getting rather long in the tooth, so besides the convenience of a common charger with Android handsets, the iPhones may finally get fast-charging abilities as well.

Given the experience with the iPad Pro 12.9 which offers a USB-C Power Delivery port, but ships with a 20W adapter, we wouldn't hold our hopes for a fast-charging iPhone 15 at long last too high, though. 

Granted, you can use Apple's 30W or higher bricks on the iPad Pro to lower the charging time below the 3-hour threshold, but its battery chemistry and charge management system are nowhere near the whopping up to 150W charging speeds that Android phones now offer.

T-Mobile's OnePlus 10T, for instance, whose 150W SuperVOOC charging is legally restricted in the US to 125W, can still charge its 4,800mAh battery here fully in just 20 minutes or so. 

That, however, requires special batteries and charging control systems with 1600 charge-discharge cycle abilities before degradation hits, which is double what the current iPhones offer. 

So, unless Apple figures all this out by next summer, before the iPhone 15 goes into mass production, don't expect the big battery on your iPhone 15 Ultra to charge way faster than the one on the iPhone 14 Pro Max just because the iPhone 15 family will have a USB-C port to comply with the European Commission's common charging standard mandate.

After all, if Apple both equips its iPhones with USB-C ports and provides them with fast charging abilities in one and the same generation, it will be a tacit admission that it has been holding onto the aging Lightning port for nothing. It would basically turn out that Apple could've provided phones that don't take two or three hours to charge a long time ago if it was willing to do so, which would not be a particularly good look.

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