It is now recorded, Europe has voted definitively for the single charger. In 2024, all smartphones must switch to USB-C… or simply go without ports. According to many Apple fans, this is the direction that the apple will take, not for the iPhone 14, but for the iPhone 15. For us, it does not hold.
Image: Hasan Kaymak
Can Apple really afford to produce a portless smartphone from the iPhone 15?
Why talk about the iPhone 15 and not the iPhone 14? Quite simply because only 3 months before the release of the iPhone 14, we already know a lot about it, especially about its look.
If the famous notch will most certainly jump this year, this is not the case with the Lightning port. All the most reliable sources in the field confirm this.
Some apple lovers, including famous YouTuber Tech Leo Duff, think the European Parliament’s decision to impose USB-C for everyone is absurd. According to these people, in the face of the great upheaval represented by the end of the Lightning, Apple will simply produce an iPhone 15… without ANY ports.
As true industry movers, it is highly likely that Apple executives will make the decision to offer the first portless cellphone. This is, without a doubt, their medium/long term plan.
But will they dare never offer USB-C on an iPhone and go completely wireless next year?
For us, that would be a strategic and technological error. So let’s go through all the arguments for an iPhone 15 without a port. You will see, nothing holds.
- Can Apple really afford to produce a portless smartphone from the iPhone 15?
- 1st argument: “The economic model around the “Made for iPhone” standard is not that important for Apple”
- 2nd argument: “The public did not appreciate the switch to the Lighting port on the iPhone 5, they will also complain about USB-C”
- 3rd argument: “Regulators are holding back innovation: Apple, Samsung and all the others are blocked”
- 4th argument: “There are 1 billion Lightning accessories in circulation, throwing them away would be an ecological disaster”
- 5th argument: “The iPhone 15 will necessarily be wireless, Apple will not let go”
1st argument: “The economic model around the “Made for iPhone” standard is not that important for Apple”
Apple is very attached to its Lightning port, it’s a real blow for the Cupertino company which still receives 4 dollars for each purchase of accessories that they certify “Made for iPhone”.
But, according to some people, these 4 dollars do not weigh very heavily economically for a giant like Apple. The argument is as follows:
Since Apple is already relying heavily on USB-C for its MacBooks and even, since 2018, for its iPad, this would prove that the 4 dollars taxed to all third-party manufacturers who want to sell Lighting are not so important for the company. ‘company. If they were, Apple would have put Lightning everywhere….
However, the “MFI” standard does indeed mean “Made for iPhone” and not Made for iPad or Mac.
For Macs, it would also be absurd to set up a connection technologically inferior to USB-C on a computer that must have fast transfer speeds.
As for the iPad, its sales figures are ridiculous next to those of the iPhone. We are talking about 50 million iPads sold per year against nearly 250 million iPhones. The sums involved are incomparable, especially since it is much easier to buy new accessories for a phone than for a tablet (an external battery for example).
And then, when Apple switches to USB-C for its iPad Pro, it’s following a certain pressure from consumers (pros always need fast transfers), but also from legislators, who were already agitated there at 4 years old.
Apple has been preparing for a long time for it to crack one day or another, which is why they are killing themselves to seek improvements to wireless chargers, even after the failure of AirPower.
2nd argument: “The public did not appreciate the switch to the Lighting port on the iPhone 5, they will also complain about USB-C”
This argument is based on a rather flawed prediction. The situation has changed enormously in 10 years. Today, it seems pretty obvious that the general public is pushing more to switch to USB-C than to keep the Lighting.
At the time, magazine changes were legion. If consumers stepped up to the plate, it was precisely because there was too much variety on the market, not standardization.
Remember: we could not even ask “who has an iPhone charger” in the evening because we were going to answer us “The old one or the new one?”. Tomorrow, it will be enough to ask “who has a charger” for short.
Audiences may be used to Lightning, but they’re also used to USB-C. All you need is a Mac, an iPad, a Nintendo Switch, a battery-powered controller, a member of the household with an Android smartphone, an e-reader, a wireless speaker… in short, just about any tech object recent laptop to have USB-C at home.
Let’s be honest, everyone has USB-C at home, at least as much as Lightning ports.
If you think the opinion of the general public may have weight in Apple’s decision, ask yourself what they would think about producing a portless smartphone.
3rd argument: “Regulators are holding back innovation: Apple, Samsung and all the others are blocked”
The question of the universal charger has been around for a very long time. So long that USB-C didn’t even exist when it was first debated. If the EU had won this era, the very mediocre Micro-USB port would have become the sole charger.
It is surely true. But can we say with certainty that the Micro-USB port would have been the only one, everywhere, for 15 years? That the law would not have evolved to make room for its replacement once it was found?
The tech world moves fast, and lawmakers are trying to keep up. They are not resistant to change per se: their goal is not to restrict freedom, but to protect, as best as possible, as many people as possible.
This is what we observe for example with autonomous cars, which are highly regulated in Europe. At home, a Tesla has fewer options in its Autopilot than in the United States. But it protects us from technologies that are not quite ready. Do not panic, the law is updated as soon as the innovations have proven their relevance, it has already been seen.
The decisions made by the government are not set in stone.
4th argument: “There are 1 billion Lightning accessories in circulation, throwing them away would be an ecological disaster”
Again, this argument does not hold water. Personally, I love Apple, but to assert the above sentence is closer to blind fanaticism than to factual reality.
People are not being asked to throw away or mass repurchase new products overnight. Anyway, when they change phone, Lightning or not, there will be a cable in the box.
Lighting cables wear out quickly and lead to buyouts. Lightning accessories have a life expectancy at best similar to that of the iPhone that goes with it. There won’t be a big wave of waste related to the end of the Lightning in 2024, that’s nonsense.
Unused chargers represent 11 million tons of waste per year.
Thanks to standardization, in the long term, there are millions of tons less waste, both at the level of manufacturers (who will produce fewer accessories) and consumers (who will reuse the same cable for many objects) .
If there’s one thing that would make people buy new accessories in droves, and therefore be harmful to the planet, it would be to produce an iPhone without any ports. If this happens, all iPhone owners, in addition to the USB-C cables they surely already have at home, will have to buy wireless chargers.
5th argument: “The iPhone 15 will necessarily be wireless, Apple will not let go”
Now that we’ve shown the relevance of the switch to USB-C, it’s time to tackle the bigger piece. For us, the iPhone 15 will not be wireless. At least it doesn’t have to be.
We said it earlier, ecologically, it would be a disaster, forcing all consumers to buy new accessories.
Inductive charging, even with the tiny magnets in Apple’s MagSafe chargers, still results in a energy loss. A loss that wired charging does not have. Here again, a bad green point is added.
Finally, and this is the most important point, wireless technology is not ready, neither for charging nor for data transfer.
I have an iPhone myself, and I’m familiar with MagSafe.
- This technology which hassle as soon as there is a hull on an iPhone (or that leaves a big trace by heating the plastic).
- This technology which makes my battery heat up, so the usemuch more than wired charging.
- This technology which makes handling difficult of my charging iPhone.
- This technology which, because of its magnet, is not not more convenient only a wire since it requires my two hands to unplug my machine.
For data transfer, the situation is even worse. Today, iPhones take 8K video and we all take tons of hi-res snaps almost every day.
Apple themselves want to make their iPhone a camera and a camera usable by professionals, all their com goes in this direction.
I personally know people who work with an iPhone as a second pro camera. Even if I am the first fan of photo sharing in AirDrop, we do not transfer files of several tens of gigabytes this way.
iPad Pro goes USB-C because USB-C is best for professionals. By Apple’s own admission. The iPhone Pro, at least, has to line up.
Apple always waits for a technology to be fully ready before bringing it to its iPhones. No facial recognition without the accuracy of Face ID. Closer to our topic, no removal of the Jack port without Bluetooth 4 and a product as well thought out as the AirPods.
Until wireless is fully ready, it seems technologically absurd for Apple to produce a portless phone.
IOS 16 shows that the ecosystem that was said to be “too closed” is opening up. Ever-increasing customization, multitude of APIs for developers, probable arrival of USB-C… the iPhone is getting closer to an Android smartphone.
Even if I love Apple, on these points, it’s still good to see change, even forced.