The European Union (EU) passed legislation earlier this year requiring a common charging standard for small consumer electronics such as smartphones and tablets. The organization selected USB-C as their preferred charging/connectivity standard and gave manufacturers two years to change their products. The EU mandate had the greatest impact on Apple, which has been using its proprietary Lightning port as its charging standard on iPhones for several years. Despite the company’s many appeals against the common charger mandate, the EU persisted and passed the law.
A senior executive confirmed Apple would switch to USB-C soon after the law was officially passed. While Apple is not legally required to make the switch before 2024, several reports suggest the official transition from Apple’s old Lightning Port should take place in 2023, when the company announces the iPhone 15 lineup.
Aside from the obvious benefit of not having to carry around separate charging cables for the iPhone, the switch to USB-C also meant that future iPhones could benefit from much improved wired data transfer speeds enabled by USB-C. While future iPhones will almost certainly have faster charging and data transfer speeds enabled by USB-C, a report by noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests Apple may throttle transfer speeds on lower-end iPhones while reserving faster data transfer speeds for its more expensive iPhone 15 Pro models.
Apple will almost certainly switch to USB-C on its 2023 iPhone models, according to noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. However, on its lower-tier models — the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus — the company is likely to limit data transfer speeds to USB 2.0 speeds. As a result, customers who want to unlock the full capabilities of USB-C may have to pay more for Apple’s top-tier iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models. Unfortunately, this means that despite switching to a supposedly newer, faster connectivity standard, the lower-priced iPhone models will see no improvement in data transfer speeds over existing iPhone models.
Kuo reveals in a series of tweets announcing these possibilities that the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models could support USB 3.2 or Thunderbolt 3 speeds, significantly improving wired transfer speeds on these models over current iPhone models. Thunderbolt 3 support will enable an entirely new way of using the iPhone as a wired video output device — a feature that content creators have been waiting for on the iPhone for years.
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Given that they will not release the next generation of iPhones for several months, it is too early to predict whether Apple will implement this change. Ming-Chi Kuo has a near-perfect track record for Apple rumors.