Science & Technology

Kuo: Apple planning to ditch Lightning port for USB-C starting in 2023

Apple Inc. may be set to abandon its proprietary Lightning port and switch to USB-C, at least according to esteemed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo claimed today on Twitter that his latest survey indicates that in the second half of 2023, new iPhones will switch to the industry USB-C standard. Kuo noted that the USB-C port could improve the iPhone’s transfer and charging speed in hardware designs, but the final specification details will depend on iOS support.

In a second tweet, Kuo wrote that he expects to see existing USB-C-related suppliers of Apple’s ecosystem become the market’s focus in the next one to two years, thanks to vast orders from iPhones and accessories adoption of USB-C ports.

Given the timing, USB-C would make its debut on the iPhone 15 lineup. MacRumors reported that it’s not clear whether USB-C would appear on all iPhone 15s or only some models.

Apple has been reported to be considering a switch to USB-C since 2019, but it has yet to happen. The company Steve Jobs built has been obstinate in sticking with its Lightning port previously, claiming that the Lightning port standard is superior to USB-C. However, it may not have a choice in the near future.

In September, the European Commission proposed legislation that would require all smartphone makers to add USB-C charging ports to their handsets. The EC argues that consumers have been frustrated by incompatible chargers and that the industry has had long enough to fix the situation by itself.

Apple said at the time that “we remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.”

Forward to April and the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee voted in favor of the proposed legislation. And the proposal is not limited to smartphones. It would also require that tablets, digital cameras, headphones, headsets, handheld video game consoles and portable speakers use USB-C for charging. The only exception is devices that are too small to have a USB-C port.

The proposed legislation goes to a plenary vote of the European Parliament this month. If it’s approved, talks then begin with EU governments on the final shape of the legislation. Exactly how long the remaining process will take is not clear, but it’s possible that USB-C could be the mandated standard by late this year or early this year. At least as it stands, the law would give Apple about two years to adopt USB-C.

Photo: Rob Pegoraro/Flickr

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