One of the biggest changes rumored to be coming to the iPhone 15 is the USB-C connector. After spending 16 years of its existence using some sort of proprietary charging cable, Apple is finally adopting the same standard connector as everyone else – Even if it wasn’t entirely Apple’s choice to do so.
This is a big deal. Partly because this means iPhones will be no stranger to charging and accessories, but also because of how much more advanced USB-C can compare to a Lightning cable. The problem is that there’s a very real chance that Apple will screw the whole thing up by being all about Apple.
Or at least that’s what the rumors say, and there’s no guarantee that online speculation has any degree of truth. but. If I’m being honest, it would be even more surprising if Apple did nothing to destroy the USB-C capabilities of the iPhone.
iPhone 15 USB-C may be limited – unless you buy Pro
Lightning debuted in 2012, when USB wasn’t quite as good as its more recent incarnations. That was the time when USB 2.0 reigned supreme, and Lightning has stuck at that level ever since – with a data transfer rate of 480Mbps. Meanwhile, USB has evolved through several different versions, resulting in the newer version 2 of USB 4 – which offers data transfer speeds of 80Gbps.
Currently, USB-C to USB-C cables are also capable of charging speeds up to 240W, though the actual charging speed will depend on the device you’re actively using. iPhones are currently rated at 20W, provided you use a USB-C to Lightning cable and charger.
I bring this up because there is a rumor claiming that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus He might be stuck at the same level as Lightning. There are still rumors that both phones will have USB-C ports, but the actual port itself will be USB 2.0. The changes are effectively profound, and both phones will have the same speed-based limitations as the Lightning cable.
The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max will reportedly not have such restrictions, and word is that both devices will support USB 3.2. It’s not the fastest or newest version of USB, by any means, but it still delivers transfer speeds of 20Gbps — over 40 times faster than USB 2.0. This more advanced version of USB also opens up connectivity to more accessories that USB 2.0 isn’t fast enough to handle, including external displays.
The good news here is that the maximum charging speed of USB-C is not affected across different versions of the standard. “Hi-Speed USB” as USB 2.0 is now known can still handle charging speeds of up to 240W if you have the right kind of cable.
So, in a situation where the iPhone 15’s Type-C port is limited to USB 2.0 speeds, the only charging limitations you’ll run into will come directly from Apple. This could be a result of the phone’s hardware, and how much power it can safely receive at any one time, or it could come from some specific trick caused by the software.
Made for iPhone can also perform the transfer
If you go out and buy a Lightning cable now, you have two options. Either buy one that has been certified by Apple, or buy one that isn’t and deal with the fact that your maximum charging speed will be cut in half. And all thanks to Apple’s “Made for iPhone” (MFi) program, which certifies chargers and accessories to make sure they’re fit for purpose. This means that people can see the logo and understand that the product in question is safe and of sufficient quality.
Apple is not doing this out of the goodness of its heart; The company receives royalties from sales of Made for iPhone products. We don’t know how much Apple actually makes, but it falls within its wearables, home, and accessories division, which brought in $41.1 billion last year — though that number includes money from the sale of products like the Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod. , and so on.
Until now, the MFi program was limited to Apple’s internal connectors – MagSafe, Lightning, and so on. USB-C has been left alone, despite the growing number of Apple products that use the connector. But none of these products is the iPhone, which may also be Apple’s personal money printing machine, which accounts for 52% of the company’s revenue in 2022.
So it’s not surprising that there have been rumors that Made for iPhone might move to USB-C to coincide with its debut on the iPhone 15. That means using the USB-C cable and charger that came with, for example, the Google Pixel likely won’t. Charge your iPhone 15 as fast as an Apple-manufactured or certified device.
The move to USB-C was intended to facilitate better compatibility between devices. The idea is that your Android charging cable won’t become completely unusable because you’ve upgraded to an iPhone — or vice versa. EU officials have even publicly stated that any Made For iPhone style restrictions would be illegal in the region.
Ensuring safety is one thing, but it’s not like we’re back in the early days of USB-C when stories of exploding chargers were everywhere. And it’s certainly suspicious that we never saw any sign of Made for iPhone targeting USB-C until we started hearing credible reports that the port was coming to the best-selling product.
And in fairness to Apple, it’s not the only company that offers special restrictions on USB-C. Many companies have restricted faster charging speeds for their own homemade chargers, forcing third-party replacements to use significantly slower speeds. But the number of companies doing so has dwindled, especially as USB Power Delivery has become more popular.
USB-C has many advantages over Apple’s Lightning cable, not least of which is the fact that the port doesn’t have to be stuck in 2012, as it is with Lightning. But rumors about these restrictions sound like Apple throwing a tantrum when told what to do. Just like asking a child to eat broccoli, the desired results may not be what you initially hoped for.
The U in USB stands for Universal, but with those limitations in place, the USB-C on the iPhone 15 could be anything but.
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