Apple Officially Retires Lighting Charger for iPhones To Adopt USB-C Charging

With the announcement of the iPhone 15 at Apple’s annual keynote conference, the company announced that they are officially retiring the iPhone’s lightning charger to adopt the USB-C charging technology that it has for its other devices. 

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After 11 years of the lightning cable, Apple has announced the retirement of the charger to be replaced with the USB-C charging cable, which is a universal charging system. 

At Apple’s annual keynote iPhone conference they announced the change to their charging technology along with the next generation of iPhone. Apple has previously changed its iPads and Macbooks to USB-C charging as well, and has previously been resistant to making the change for the iPhone. 

This change also comes less than a year after the European Union voted on legislation approving the requirement of all smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, portable speakers, and other small electronic devices to support USB-C charging by 2024; marking the first kind of law regarding device charging technology. Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight gave his take on the recent change from Apple.

“This is arguably the biggest disruption to iPhone design for several years, but in reality, it is hardly a dramatic move.”

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, discussed last year how valuable it is for the company to switch to this universal charging method, and how they were “obviously” going to comply with the new mandate from the EU.

“We have no choice, like we do around the world, to comply with local laws, but we think the approach would have been better environmentally and better for our customers to not have a government [have] that perspective,” Joswiak said. The legislation from the EU was made to ideally tackle e-waste. 

Apple first announced the Lightning cable charger with the iPhone 5 back in 2012. “For Apple, it was all about being in control of its own ecosystem. Apple makes good money from selling Lightning cables and its many related accessories,” said David McQueen, a director at ABI Research. Wood added on to the discussion of how this is a positive move from the company. 

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“Given how widely USB-C has been used in other devices, it’s hard to imagine that customers will be totally caught out by this switch, and in the long term, it’s likely to benefit them, with a universal charging system having some very obvious upsides.”

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 “Moving to USB Type C would take away this level of control as USB-C is a much more open ecosystem,” McQueen said.

Apple is also now selling an USB-C to Lightning charger adapter for $29 to allow people to connect any existing devices they have to a USB-C enabled iPhone or iPad to charge or share data. 

“The move to USB-C won’t likely be an incentive for people to upgrade, but it could sway some consumers who have been resistant to the iPhone over its charging limitations,” according to Thomas Husson, a vice president at Forrester Research