Apple Killed Our Hopes For USB-C. However, They’re Preparing Us For Portless Phones.
We might never see a universal phone charger as iPhone 12 hints at a wireless future
The release of the iPhone 12 was highly anticipated by the Apple community this year.
Much was being talked about the new 5G connectivity, triple camera system, and the new LiDAR sensor. However, the little hopes of getting a USB-C port perished as soon as the new iPhone was revealed.
Some would think, Apple ignoring USB-C has to do with their efforts to preserve their walled garden and stand apart from their competitors. But I sense Apple is working towards something that’ll revolutionize how we charge our phones.
Apple Has Perhaps Shelved USB-C Permanently
For starters, USB-C has become a vital cog in the smartphone industry for a few years now. It’s symmetrical and reversible plug eliminates the pains of figuring the correct side of the cord. Besides, it boasts much faster charging and helps connect with all kinds of external displays today.
Today, every modern monitor and laptop contains at least one USB-C port. In fact, the latest Macbook Pro lineup has totally switched away from the older USB ports.
Yet, Apple has consciously shied away from adopting USB Type-C port across its other products. Instead, they’d been using their own propriety lightning connector since 2012 and continue to do so across the iPhone, AirPods, and Watch Series.
For what its worth, the lightning connector is a lot slimmer than USB-C and has no exposed pins. But then, the lightning connector restricts you from using a single universal charger across all your smartphones.
Now, Apple has been shipping USB-C to Lightning Connector cable for the past few years. So, why aren’t they killing the lightning port completely and go all-in on the ubiquitous USB-C?
One could say that Apple doesn’t want to lose out money over its licensing fees. But then, the world’s most valuable company should have some bigger plans.
Perhaps the different standards and varying power sources used by the current crop of USB-C cables makes Apple reluctant to ship their own in 2020.
As Debugger’s Owen Williams succinctly points it out, USB-C is turning out to be a total mess due to its similar-looking ports with distinct features(some support Power Delivery, while others don’t). This might scare users from switching to a cable that works beyond their Apple ecosystem.
The unreliability, fragile nature, and slow early adoption of USB-C could be the possible reason why Apple has decided against doing a transition today. Then again, if there’s no USB-C, what’s Apple’s next strategy? Two words: Wireless Charging.
The Exclusion Of Charger From The Box Indicates A Shift Towards No Ports In The Future iPhone
One of the most surprising moves of the year was Apple’s decision to exclude chargers and earbuds from the box. Instead, they’d only ship out a USB-C to iPhone 12 cable.
According to the tech giant, the omission of chargers is an eco-friendly decision. However, for users having phones prior to iPhone 11, they’d still be forced to buy the new charger separately. This makes Apple’s clean energy marketing strategy questionable as the execution is hilariously wrong.
Yet, if one looks at the bigger picture, Apple has given a glimpse of the portless future ahead by introducing MagSafe charging support in the iPhone 12.
For the uninitiated, the MagSafe system allows the user to snap their devices magnetically to simplify charging. It also lets you securely attach other accessories, like wireless chargers, cases, and wallets on it. Though, this isn’t truly wireless as you’d still need to connect it to a charging port. However, by being portless, MagSafe technology is a lot more durable and eliminates the risk of tangled charged cables that are known to break fairly quickly.
Apple has been working on wireless technology for two years now. They’d introduced the Qi charger that requires resting the device on a circular pad. And now, by offering an optional MagSafe charger, Apple is truly looking to go beyond USB-C and breakout with portless charging phones.
MagSafe technology is here to stay for a while as it’ll help bridge the gap between wired and wireless charging. But then, it also ensures Apple is likely to kill the lightning connector very soon — thereby shaping the next iPhone lineups to have no ports.
Apple had defied notions by removing the headphone jack at a time when the world didn’t expect them to. They introduced AirPods with a wireless charging case.
While Apple’s current move to remove charger boxes from the iPhone 12 is debatable, but one cannot deny their efforts to push forward wireless charging technology. MagSafe technology isn’t truly wireless. But it's a step in the right direction and prepares for no ports in the next iPhone lineup.
That’s it for this one. Thanks for reading.