The iPhone 14 could well be the last iPhone with a Lightning connector. US lawmakers have been watching the EU ban on proprietary charging cables and they want to bring in similar legislation in the US. If successful, that would mean all smartphones and tablets sold in the US would have to have the same charger, most likely USB-C.
Some of the best phones already do have USB-C, but Apple’s a holdout here.
According to The Verge, US senators Ed Markey, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have written to the commerce secretary Gina Raimondo, asking her department to develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce e-waste by mandating a common charger. Such a move would be in the public interest, the letter says. I think the senators are right.
USB-C is better for you and for me
Apple has already moved to USB-C in many of its products. My M1 MacBook Air is USB-C, as is my iPad Air. But my iPhone 13 has lightning, as does my eldest’s iPhone SE, and so do my AirPods Max. Increasingly my home is a divided one, with USB-C for pretty much every device except for the Apple ones. Having those devices move to USB-C too would massively reduce cable clutter and confusion for me, as well as reducing the number of chargers we need.
I suspect the senators’ letter, while well intentioned, is going to be outpaced by reality: with the EU regulations coming into force for products sold in 2024, Apple is already expected to have USB-C in the iPhone 14 next year and in the entry level iPad, the only non-USB iPad, later this year. If the US decides to introduce legislation, by the time it reaches the statute books Lightning charging cables may already be history.
I’ll be interested to see how Apple handles this in the iPhone, because I’ve already cut the cables with mine: instead of wired charging I use MagSafe at home and in the car. Could Apple be working on a true wireless iPhone? That’s not so far-fetched: from the CD-ROM to the headphone jack, Apple has a long history of removing supposedly essential features from its products, and while there are still solid reasons for having a dedicated interface/charging port, removing it would free up significant space inside and make the iPhone easier to protect against the elements.