According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities, Apple will eventually dump its proprietary Lightning port and transition to USB-C on all or maybe some versions of the iPhone 15 range expected to debut in the second half of 2023.
Although much of the market transitioning to USB-C, Apple has maintained the Lightning port on the iPhone since the iPhone 5. According to a recent supply chain survey, Apple will drop Lightning in favor of USB-C in 2023, according to Kuo’s tweet. As per his notes, USB-C would boost iPhone transfer speeds as well as charging speeds.
Apple will continue with Lightning on the iPhone for the “foreseeable future,” according to Kuo, who claims that switching to USB-C would hurt Apple’s MiFi business and has a lower waterproof rating. Apple’s stance has now apparently shifted. The EU’s pressure on Apple could be one explanation for the company’s change of heart.
The EU is pushing forward with proposed legislation that would require Apple to use USB-C on all iPhones, iPads, and AirPods sold in the EU. If passed, such a law would force Apple to either send specifically built USB-C equipped models of its products to Europe while keeping the rest of the world on Lightning or to adopt USB-C for all of its products globally.
The majority of Apple’s iPad models already have USB-C ports for faster data transfer from accessories like cameras. The Lightning port is a bottleneck for downloading huge video and photo files for photographers and cinematographers, a market Apple has been keen to target with its high-end iPhones. Moving to USB-C would ease that process, make file transfers easier, and give you access to a larger ecosystem of USB-C accessories.
Apple was expected to keep the Lightning connector on the iPhone until it was ready to go completely portless, relying solely on MagSafe to charge and transfer files. MagSafe first debuted on the iPhone in 2020 with the iPhone 12, making it a relatively new technology to the iPhone. The EU’s push may have forced Apple to rethink its timeframe for going completely portless, requiring it to comply with potential future rules and move the iPhone to USB-C.