Something that got me thinking, with tomorrow so soon… None of the tech blogs are talking about it so I presume they are guessing it is impossible. But… what if Apple only did the USB-C thing within the EU? No, really. They have multiple models every year such as special models for China and recently, the sim-port-less US models. Minor changes such as these can be made, sustainably and practically from a production point of view. It can be done and is feasible.
I don’t see why Apple wouldn’t? At the end of the day, the consumer already has spoken in using Lightning by the record breaking year on year sales of iPhones. Nobody 10 years ago was holding out on the iPhone 4S for the 5 just because of a port, and no average consumer (e.g. not on forums like these) is going to wait or decide on an upgrade just because of that port either. Frankly, I was shocked how many of my friends didn’t even know what USB-C was - despite having consoles and devices that use it already.
I really, really hope that Apple stands up to the EU in doing this. I don’t know how likely it is, but is anyone else with me?
I’m quite pleased that this forum - unlike many others like MacRumors Forums or even comment sections - has a balanced view with people both for and against, and no bullying going on even where we disagree. There seems to be a lot of people on my side of the principle and method of this change being totally wrong.
Here in the UK, we’d likely still get the USB-C model for production reasons given we’re geographically in Europe but everywhere else, e.g. most of the world… Why would they bother?
Once I looked over the timeline of connectors I became more convinced that it’s time to leave lightning. A decade per connector is longer than I’d personally like, but it gives manufacturers’ whole ecosystems time to release the connector for every product and lets people buy accessories over a few years and use them for several years.
And we’ll hopefully get benefits like an iPhone Pro that can use TB4 cables. I’m sure there’s a way to meet that delivery spec with a lightning-shaped connector, but not in a way that’s compatible with any existing equipment.
I’m definitely concerned that this regulation will make it harder to prove new connectors with real-world use, causing us to stay on USB-C for too long.
I don’t think this is a valid line of reasoning, as the presence or lack of a Lightning port isn’t probably even in the top 10 key differentiators of iPhones vs. their competition.
I guarantee that this is true. The average consumer doesn’t care, and for those who do the USB-C to Lightning adapters are available and inexpensive.
I’m all for companies not being bullied by governments doing what I consider to be ridiculous things.
That said, I’m inclined to think that Apple was already planning the move to USB-C, and this just gives them a useful rationale to do it this year.
The thing is, it is possible to spin up production lines for the two different ports, but that costs money and increases the number of unique items in the supply chain, which could affect warehousing and such. What’s the business case for putting in that effort?
They’ve already “bothered” to make the USB-C version, because they’re releasing it to the EU. Apart from just being stubborn, what would the benefit to Apple be of the EU having a USB-C iPhone and the United States & the rest of the world not having one?
The law does not mean innovation will become impossible; it does help in improving standardisation. The law not only permits the EU to revisit the standard later, but also charges the EU with actively doing so to avoid this problem. It is a way to make sure that company x, y and z create their own standards in the future.
I do not think users buy the iPhone because of the Lightning connector… i think most users really do not care. 2/3 of the world uses Android phones which are mostly USB-C these days, so following your logic users have voted for USB-C.
I’m happy with the move to USB-C, i can carry a single cable for my MacBook, iPhone and iPad. In my opinion Apple should have moved to USB-C for all devices sooner, and not be so stubborn in keeping some devices on Lightning.
I hope not just because it would mean we weren’t growing our formats/data uses by orders of magnitude in size (or would mean we gave up on controlling radiation), but I’m excited for any improvements to narrow band or short range high frequency wireless we do get. (I also get there are different schools of thought as far as phones being good enough vs. pushing limits!)
Yes, it’s possible to manufacture special editions for various reasons, especially if the “special” components do not require significant re-jigging and you will sell enough of them to cover the additional costs but any manufacturer would prefer to run as few lines as possible of a product as it massively simplifies everything from inventory to accessories to production runs. Of course, there’s a balance so we won’t ever get a single iPhone, for example, as Apple needs to sell to the range of iPhone users or lose important market shares.
I can’t see the port on an iPhone being important enough in anyone’s purchasing decision to be worth the cost of manufacturing multiple iPhones which differ only on their connection port.
One more thought - if Apple legitimately came out with a better connector (something USB-C couldn’t do) at some point, I could absolutely see them continuing to run USB-C for the EU and offering their other connector everywhere else.
Indeed. I don’t understand this rush to get portless equipment (i.e. iPhones, most especially). I appreciate having the ability to reinstall an OS or loading a saved profile on an iPhone via USB connection when needed.
I am not sure how having a lightning iPhone outside of the EU would be standing up to the EU.
In fact, I am rather happy some government stands up to big tech. Although, I would have hoped the US would have taken the lead. EU regulation is a bit overzealous at times. A prime example would be interoperability of messengers
As expected, some amazing replies and no nastiness This forum is a gem.
So the consensus here is, whilst some of us aren’t fans of how this is happening, it was likely going to happen sooner or later anyway, and the other benefits of having USB-C should be welcome as even us with a lot of Lightning kit and devices still have years of operational life left yet for them to become e-waste overnight.
In my opinion Apple made the problem worse by not switching to USB-C sooner. I mean they cut all other ports from MacBooks in 2015 I believe. I was expecting a switch to USB-C elsewhere soon after. That would have consistent and reduce e-waste following the industry standard (Android makes up the majority of phones sold globally).
Apple should have switched to USB C on the iPhone years ago, about the same time it was introduced on the iPad Pros.
They didn’t purely as they had the financial incentive to continue pushing and milking Lightning (MFi) as long as they possibly could. Innovation was clearly not a priority here as they had 10+ years to improve Lightning, yet it stuck to USB 2.0 transfer speeds.
They will never further differentiate the iPhones by making another set of different SKUs with only a difference in port - there’s already different cellular support by markets, different eSIM vs physical SIM support, the actual dual SIM phones for select markets (times the colours times the storage options), and this all complicates logistics. A difference in port is not enough to justify this, and there’s no precedent in Apple’s history here.
As Apple helped influence the actual USB C standard and were one of the first to implement the port on the MacBook line (remember when the newly announced MacBooks didn’t have a single USB A port?), they really can’t fight the standard for a single device only, much as they may dislike the loss in revenue from licensing Lightning or MFi (though rumours point to them keeping MFi for the USB C).
I don’t think it’ll happen (though I hoped so), but the differences for China etc, government force, has been the precedent for Apple with hardware - and software in disabling AirDrop for more than 10 minutes in China. This is no different force really. I must admit, say what you want about Google and Facebook, but one thing they are not, is in bed with China and I admire that.