Apple is testing iPhones that use the industry-standard USB-C port, according to A Report per Bloomberg citing people familiar with the situation.
Since 2012, Apple smartphones have used the company’s proprietary Lightning connector. But more recently, the slightly larger USB-C port has come to dominate consumer electronics, including most other Apple products. Consumers, reviewers, and even government regulators have called on Apple to abandon Lightning in favor of USB-C in recent years.
This has put Apple in a difficult position, with three potential paths forward, each with some significant downsides.
On the other hand, the company can stick with Lightning — meaning that customers who’ve used the iPhone for a while won’t have to buy new adapters, wires, or chargers. Apple’s ecosystem of accessory makers won’t have to go back to the drawing board to release updated products for the new connection.
On the other hand, Apple could switch to USB-C, which makes the iPhone work better with other gadgets, including the Mac. But such a move could cause consumer confusion and chaos among accessory makers. This will also loosen Apple’s control over the user experience.
The third option would be to use all wireless networks, but wireless connections do not usually transfer energy or data quickly and efficiently.
According to Bloomberg sources, Apple is actively testing a second option – switching to USB-C – in large part because the European Union appears to be moving ahead with a law requiring companies making “cell phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones, headsets and game consoles” Portable video and portable speakers” to standardize around USB-C.
The new law is not final yet, but its prospects are good so far, and it will force Apple to do so. Sources aren’t sure if Apple will continue with its plan to switch to USB-C should the law eventually fall.
However, the USB-C models Apple is currently testing aren’t targeting the 2022 release – this year’s iPhones are said to still use Lightning. But change could happen as soon as 2023, according to the report.
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