The end of cable clutter: Apple adopts USB-C for iPhone 15

One charging port for all. It’s official: USB-C has won. Consumers around the world breathed a huge sigh of relief on Tuesday when Apple unveiled its new iPhone 15. 

The tech giant is finally embracing USB-C — and plans to do away with its exclusive lightning charger. 

“The same cable can charge Mac, iPad, iPhone and even Airpods Pro 2nd generation which is updated with USB-C connector,” said Kaiann Drance, the VP of iPhone product marketing.

USB-C, which offers faster data speeds, is already universal. So goodbye electronic “spaghetti,” and also no need to carry around two types of chargers anymore to avoid losing juice. It may feel like Apple has changed its charging cables more times than we can count. 

In 1998, Apple launched regular USB cables, then brought in heavy-duty firewire used with the first-ever iPod. You can thank this honking 30-pin connector for causing you to buy endless accessories in the early 2000s. But after 2012, those accessories slowly became worthless after Apple introduced the lightning connector. 

“There were a lot of iPhone accessories, boom boxes, docks, things like this. And people needed to completely and totally change because the 30 pin and the lightning, they were completely different ports,” said Michael Simon, executive editor of Macworld.

A few years later, the rest of the tech world began embracing USB- C cables. And the European Union is fed up with Apple not playing along. So EU lawmakers passed a law requiring all handheld devices to adopt the same USB- C chargers by the end of 2024. 

“I can’t even tell you how many times my son has an iPad Air and I have an iPhone and I’ve forgotten one of the two cables on a trip and I got to go to CVS or whatever’s closest to me to buy the other cable,” Simon said. 

EU regulators say their law will make everyone’s life easier and will reduce technology waste. As for Apple, the switch carries risks like losing licensing revenue from third-party accessory carriers, or, even worse — consumers rejecting the change.   

“They have a pretty big property to protect with the iPhone all over the world. So this has to go smoothly. They have to sell it well,” he said. 

But at the annual Apple event on Tuesday, the company didn’t seem worried about keeping loyal consumers on their side.