It’s pretty clear that Apple will further adopt USB-C for future devices, given the pressure from European Union legislation that requires a mandatory USB-C standard in consumer electronics.
Apple’s entire line of MacBooks switched to USB-C starting in 2015. The new 10th generation iPad – the only iPad with a horizontal FaceTime camera – has a USB-C port. Even the third-generation (2022) Apple TV 4K Siri Remote replaced the Lightning port with USB-C.
So it makes perfect sense that Lightning is nearing the end of its life after 10 years of adorning Apple devices. With the EU deadline slated for late 2024, there are still a bunch of Apple products that need the USB-C refresh. Here’s everything Apple still sells that needs a Lightning port replacement.
All Apple Devices That Still Need USB-C
iPhone 14 (and all iPhones)
Release date: September 2022
The latest iPhone 14/14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro/14 Pro Max were just released in September and to many people’s disappointment, they still have a Lightning port. With the iPhone 14 Pros capable of taking 48-megapixel ProRAW photos and high-resolution ProRES video, Lightning’s USB 2.0 transfer speeds are no longer up to scratch. Hopefully USB-C is coming to an iPhone soon.
AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
Release date: September 2022
Arriving alongside the iPhone 14s and Apple Watch Series 8/Ultra, the second-generation AirPods Pro would have received USB-C in its charging case. This does not happen. The new case charges via MagSafe and supports magnetic charging with an Apple Watch puck, but that’s beside the point.
AirPods (3rd generation)
Release date: October 2021
These third-generation AirPods hit shelves a year ago. Apple just has to replace the Lightning port with a USB-C port.
AirPods (2nd generation)
Release date: March 2019
The oldest (and cheapest) AirPods that Apple still sells. It’s time to drop them from the lineup or, just like the third-generation AirPods, give away the USB-C case.
Release date: December 2020
Apple’s ANC over-ear headphones have yet to be updated since they were released in December 2020. They need to be refreshed, which might as well come with USB-C.
iPad (9th generation)
Release date: September 2021
The 9th generation iPad is the only iPad sold by Apple that hasn’t made the jump to USB-C. Apple may stop selling it in the EU to comply with proposed USB-C legislation. But if it keeps this iPad in line, it should just drop Lightning.
Apple Pencil (1st generation)
Release date: November 2015
The Apple Pencil dates back to a November 2015 release, but it’s relevant again because it’s the only Apple stylus compatible with the 10th generation iPad. Sure, you can buy better USB-C-equipped alternatives, and the second-generation Apple Pencil charges magnetically with every other iPad, but if Apple wants to keep this old guy, it should get a new plug.
Release date: March 2022
Apple released an updated version of the Magic Mouse in March 2022, but it still charges via Lightning. Even worse, the charging port is on the bottom of the mouse, meaning you can’t use it while it’s plugged in.
Release date: May 2021
Last updated in May 2021, both the wireless and wired versions of Apple’s keyboards could use an update with – you guessed it – USB-C.
Magic Touchpad 2
Release date: October 2015
The latest Magic Trackpad 2 is available in black or white; there are also color-matched trackpads for the iMac M1s. And while the included cable has Lightning on one end and USB-C on the other, it’s time to make it USB-C on both sides.
Wireless Future, USB-C Present
As you can see, there aren’t many devices left for Apple to switch to USB-C. The biggest is the iPhone. And while Apple’s Senior Vice President of Global Marketing Greg Joswiak is correct that switching to USB-C would create a ton of e-waste as consumers replace their Lightning cables with USB- C, everyone wants change, including the EU.
Replacing Lightning with USB-C isn’t just for the benefit of charging. The reversible port/jack is capable of much faster data transfer speeds, especially if it has Thunderbolt technology. Transferring large RAW photos or video files via USB-C would be a big selling point for future iPhone Pros.
The future is undoubtedly wireless – the controversial one-port 12-inch MacBook and the cancellation of AirPower were obvious steps towards a cable-free world – but the future is unlikely to be ready anytime soon. The interim will likely be USB-C, so it’s time for Apple to jump into the program.
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