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Apple may be about to make the biggest change to the iPhone in 11 years

Apple may be about to make the biggest change to the iPhone in 11 years

(CNN) — Apple is about to unveil the iPhone 15 in a few days, and it is widely expected to bring a big change.

The iPhone 15 is widely rumored to ditch Apple’s Lightning charger in favor of USB-C charging, marking a major milestone for the company in embracing universal charging. This change may speed up the charging process on various devices and brands.

This change will come less than a year after the European Union voted to pass legislation requiring smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, portable speakers and other small devices to support USB-C charging by 2024.

The first-of-its-kind law aims to reduce the number of chargers and cables consumers have to deal with when purchasing a new device, and allow users to mix and match devices and chargers even if they are produced by different manufacturers.

“This is arguably the biggest change to iPhone design in many years, but it’s not really a radical step,” said Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight.

This is because Apple previously converted its iPads and MacBooks to USB-C charging. However, the company has resisted making the change to the iPhone.

Last year, Apple’s senior vice president of global marketing, Greg Joswiak, publicly highlighted the value and ubiquity of the Lightning charger, designed to charge devices faster, but noted that “obviously we would have to comply” with the EU mandate.

“We have no choice, as we do around the world, but to comply with local laws, but we believe this approach would have been better environmentally and better for our customers than a government that does not. [tuviera] That perspective,” Joswiak said at the time.

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The EU decision is part of a larger effort to tackle e-waste generally, but it could lead to more in the short term as people dispose of their Lightning cables. (Apple will likely have to develop a Lightning cable recycling program, too.)

Although Apple has expressed environmental concerns about the fate of older Lightning chargers, it also has economic reasons to oppose the change.

Lightning charger history

Apple introduced the Lightning charger alongside the iPhone 5 in 2012, replacing the old 30-pin dock connector with one that allows faster charging and has a reversible design. It also sparked a related accessories business, forcing users to buy a $30 Lightning adapter to connect the device to older docks, alarm clocks, and speaker systems.

“For Apple, it was about controlling its own ecosystem,” said David McQueen, director of ABI research. “Apple makes a lot of money selling Lightning cables and many associated accessories.”

It also requires a financial cut on third-party accessories and cables that pass through its Made For iPhone program. “Moving to USB Type C would remove that level of control, because USB-C is a more open ecosystem,” McQueen said.

Additionally, Apple could create its own USB-C cable to work “better with the iPhone,” such as allowing higher power to support faster charging while reducing risks and damage to batteries.

What does this mean for iPhone users?

It is currently unclear whether the switch to USB-C will happen for all new iPhone 15 models or just the Pro devices, and according to Thomas Howson, vice president of Forrester Research, the switch to USB-C will not be the only incentive to upgrade, but it may convince some… Consumers who resisted the iPhone due to charging limitations.

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iPhone 15 devices are expected to ship with a new cable in the box, but given that many mobile devices already use USB-C, including Apple’s iPads and MacBooks, accessing charging cables shouldn’t be too difficult or expensive. .

“Given how widespread the use of USB-C has become in other devices, it is difficult to imagine that customers will be completely shocked by this change, and they will likely benefit from them in the long term, as the universal charging system has some very clear advantages.” Wood says.

Apple could also do away with wired charging entirely to make room for wireless charging, but not in the short term because “wireless charging is currently much slower than wired charging,” according to McQueen. “We’ll have to wait and see.”