Will Apple’s Lightning connector survive the iPhone 15?

10 years in the past, Apple was nonetheless about to introduce iPhone 5, so principally each iPhone and iPad of that point nonetheless relied on the previous 30-pin iPod connector. In September 2012, Apple introduced the Lightning connector with the promise of being a “trendy connector for the following decade.” A decade later, plainly Lightning will not survive the iPhone 15.

Pre-Lightning period

Earlier than the iPhone, iPod was Apple’s solely moveable machine, and it had a proprietary 30-pin connector that was first launched with the 2003 iPod (the primary two generations had a FireWire connector that was solely suitable with Macs).

In fact, iPhone was introduced with the identical 30-pin connector as iPod, in order that it may benefit from the ecosystem of equipment already out there in the marketplace. At first, this was by no means an issue for many customers, particularly because the iPhone was a distinct segment. In the event you had an iPod, you had been already fairly acquainted with that connector.

However then the iPhone advanced whereas the iPod slowly met its finish. And as smartphones had been getting thinner and firms had been engaged on higher cameras and batteries, some issues needed to change. And that is when Lightning is available in.

Apple's Lightning connector was introduced 10 years ago, and it may not survive the iPhone 15

The connector for the following decade

The Lightning connector was unveiled on stage by Phil Schiller, who was Apple’s head of selling on the time. In contrast to the 30-pin connector, Lightning is way more compact and reversible, which makes it way more intuitive than its predecessor. To make the transition extra seamless, Apple even launched a 30-pin to Lightning adapter.

Since Lightning is 80% smaller than the 30-pin connector, this has freed up extra inner area within the units for different elements – an excuse Apple additionally used to do away with the headphone jack years later.

Lightning was rapidly added to different Apple merchandise. A month after the introduction of the iPhone 5, Apple additionally introduced the iPad 4 and the primary iPad mini, each with Lightning connector. The seventh- and last-generation iPod nano additionally featured the Lightning connector, in addition to the fifth-generation iPod contact. After that, no different Apple merchandise had been shipped with the 30-pin connector. It was a fast transition.

Personally, I used to be tremendous excited concerning the Lightning connector after I obtained my palms on the iPhone 5. And it felt much better than the previous iPod connector. It was additionally clearly higher than the Micro-USB connector, which was the usual for different cell units again then. However time handed, and the business as soon as once more began to alter. However this time, not for iPhone customers.

Apple's Lightning connector was introduced 10 years ago, and it may not survive the iPhone 15


Simply as smartphones had been evolving and getting thinner, tech corporations had been additionally attempting to do the identical with computer systems – particularly laptops. Then, in 2014, the consortium chargeable for the USB commonplace (of which Apple is a component) launched USB-C. A brand new, extra trendy model of the USB commonplace with a model new connector that’s quicker, smaller, and reversible.

It did not take lengthy for Apple to introduce its first product with USB-C: the 2015 MacBook. It was Apple’s thinnest laptop computer, and it had a single USB-C port. Though the MacBook has been discontinued, its legacy continues to be current in a number of different Apple merchandise. And a part of that legacy is USB-C.

Apple praised USB-C for its versatility because it helps earlier USB requirements, DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, and even energy transmission in a single cable. on its web site, Apple proudly mentioned it contributed to the event of a “new common connectivity commonplace.” However not like Lightning, it took Apple longer to carry USB-C to its different merchandise, although it was bought because the connector of the longer term.

Apple's Lightning connector was introduced 10 years ago, and it may not survive the iPhone 15

In 2016, it was time for the MacBook Professional to get USB-C. In 2018, Apple introduced the connector to the MacBook Air and the iPad Professional. USB-C is now current in all the lineup of Macs. As for the iPad, the entry-level mannequin continues to be the one one to depend on the Lightning connector, though our sources recommend that that is about to alter.

Apple has additionally changed Lightning to USB-A cables with Lightning to USB-C cables. Nevertheless, its equipment and all iPhone fashions nonetheless use the Lightning connector. However, since USB-C is an open commonplace, there’s now an enormous number of units utilizing USB-C in the marketplace. It has turn into a brand new commonplace for computer systems, tablets, smartphones, and equipment.

What’s subsequent?

Having a devoted connector for the iPhone by no means gave the impression to be an issue 10 years in the past. Nevertheless, Lightning right now appears extra dated than ever. For individuals who have already got a Mac and an iPad with USB-C, to not point out different units like headphones and sport controllers, having to maintain a Lightning cable for a single product in your house appears completely antiquated.

On the similar time, Lightning now faces the constraints of the know-how. The connector used within the iPhone continues to be primarily based on the USB 2.0 commonplace, which is far slower than USB 3.0. In an period of 4K ProRes video that ends in enormous recordsdata, Lightning has turn into a nightmare for Professional customers. It additionally lacks the tremendous quick charging speeds that USB-C helps.

However will the iPhone ever get USB-C? Why is Apple reluctant to ditch the Lightning connector?

Effectively, solely the corporate has the solutions to this, however one can simply assume that Apple nonetheless makes some huge cash with Lightning. It is because, since it’s a proprietary connector, third-party producers are required to pay a license price to Apple. And Apple’s personal Lightning equipment should not precisely low-cost.

Apple's Lightning connector was introduced 10 years ago, and it may not survive the iPhone 15

Whereas iPhone 14 ought to nonetheless preserve Lightning, Apple’s connector might not survive iPhone 15. Earlier this 12 months, the European Union determined to make it obligatory that each smartphone and pill bought in European international locations should have a USB-C connector. Different international locations like BrazilIndia, and even the US have been contemplating the identical.

On the finish of the day, possibly Phil Schiller was proper. Lightning was the connector of the final 10 years. As a result of within the subsequent 10, Apple could also be compelled to place an finish to its proprietary connector.

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