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Will the Apple Lightning Cable Replace Immediately After the iPhone Uses USB-C? Not necessarily!

Apple Lighting Cable
 Will the Apple Lightning Cable Replace

Apple did something very unusual. It gave us a clue about the future of the iPhone. Apple executives have confirmed that they will follow the European Union's directive that all smartphones in the region use USB-C to charge their phones. This is expected to happen in 2024. The future iPhones, likely to be the iPhone 16 or 15, will have to move away from the Lightning connector which has been in use since 2012.

Given the EU's new requirements, the transition to USB-C appears inevitable for the iPhone. Greg Joswiak is Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide marketing. He spoke at the Wall Street Journal Tech Live conference and stated that Apple has no choice but to "comply with local laws" just like it does elsewhere in the world. However, this doesn't mean that the Lightning cable will disappear. Due to the many accessories that still use the Lightning port and the popularity of older iPhones, Apple may have made the Lightning port a more prominent part of its lineup.

It is no secret that USB C has become more common in Apple products. The technology is present on all iPads in Apple's current portfolio, except for the 9th-generation iPad released in 2021. Apple's MacBook Pro, Air and Air models will also have USB-C ports.

Consumers and tech critics have waited for USB-C to be available on the iPhone. A modified iPhone X with a USB+C port sold on eBay for $86,001 last year. Why wouldn't you want the same cord that charges your iPhone, iPad, and Mac? The EU's new mandate is a step towards a more simple charging experience over the long-term. There is a possibility that the transition period could create friction, as consumers may bounce between chargers to charge new iPhones and older accessories.

A few products, other than the iPhone, require Lightning connections for wired charging. These devices include the AirPods earbuds and the AirPods Max. The first-generation Apple Pencil (which is the only model that can charge the new USB-C-equipped iPad), as well as the Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, and Magic Keyboard. This means that owners of these devices may still need to swap cables if they buy an iPhone with USB C in the future.

Not everyone who purchases an iPhone will choose the latest model. Apple will often discount older models once a new iPhone is available. For example, the current lineup still includes the iPhone 13 last year and the iPhone 12 in 2020. Apple also kept the iPhone 11 in its lineup at a lower $499 price after it introduced the iPhone 13 in September 2021. Apple will likely continue this tradition and include some Lightning-powered iPhones into its 2023 lineup.

Although many people may be drawn to the latest iPhones, there is still a large market for older iPhones. Counterpoint Research found that the iPhone 11 was fifth in sales in 2021, despite it being launched in 2019. According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, 15% of US iPhone sales were made up of the iPhone SE, iPhone XR and the iPhone 11 in March 2022 quarter.

According to another Counterpoint Research report, Apple accounts for over 40% of the global secondary phone market. Since 2012, all iPhones have charged through Lightning. It's easy to see why those who purchase refurbished models will want to keep their Lightning cables. This is especially relevant given that the demand for refurbished phones rose 15% in 2021, as customers sought to save money and make better buying decisions. Counterpoint also reported.

Inflation may cause people to keep their phones longer. According to the International Data Corporation, global smartphone shipments will drop 6.5% by 2022 due to lower demand and inflation. According to Assurant, an insurer that helps companies create device trade-in programs, the average age of traded in smartphones has reached three and a quarter years. Lightning cables will continue to circulate if more legacy iPhones are still in use.

The long-term benefits of USB-C for iPhone owners will outweigh any disadvantages. This change will allow you to charge all your iPhones, Macs, and iPads with one cable. That's exactly why USB-C was made mandatory by the EU. This switch is also a good time, considering that iPhones are less dependent on wired connections due to wireless charging improvements, increased popularity of Bluetooth accessories, and Apple's MagSafe connection system.

Transitions like this take time. There are many questions that remain about Apple's compliance with the EU decision. We don't know if Apple will switch to USB-C by 2023, or if it will wait till 2024. We are not sure if Apple will use USB C for iPhones in Europe or if it will be the global standard.

It is clear that the USB-C iPhone could be a step towards using one universal cable to connect all devices. It won't happen overnight.

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