Why Apple should ditch the Lightning connector and go all-in on USB-C

“USB-C was pitched years ago as the one connector to rule them all. Paired with the USB 3.1 standard, it can transfer data quickly, up to 10 gigabits per second,” Christina Bonnington writes for Slate. “It can deliver a lot of power—up to 100W, which is enough to charge most laptops without a hefty power brick. One of its biggest benefits is its shape: Unlike previous USB designs, USB-C, a thin oval-shaped connector that plugs into the pins in a device’s port, can go in right-side up or upside-down.”

“Apple used it in place of one of its traditional proprietary chargers on the super slim MacBook in 2015 and later added the MacBook Pro to the club,” Bonnington writes. “Slowly, it would seem, hardware makers are coming around to the USB-C way of life, but there’s still one glaring exception: the iPhone.”

“Apple actually made the switch to an omnidirectional cable in 2012, two years before the USB-C standard was finalized. In 2014, the company abandoned the 30-pin connector it had used to power iPods and iPhones for the previous nine years in favor of the Lightning connector. The Lightning connector was slimmer, more durable, handled more functions, and couldn’t be plugged in the ‘wrong’ way,” Bonnington writes. “Apple is rumored to have been one of a number of tech companies originally working on the USB-C standard. Impatient with the pace of progress, it opted to go with its own proprietary connector. Six years later, Apple’s iPhones and iPads still charge via Lightning.”

Bonnington writes, “It’s time for Apple to make the switch.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote just yesterday:

The future is not wired.

10 Comments

      1. We have three or four MacBooks with just USB-C connectors used in a “business” office and traveling environment here at work. Every one of them has had trouble with the connectors or with dongle compatibility. We have gone through dozens and dozens of older MacBooks, maybe even more than that, over the years, and have never had problems with the old ports. Batteries, screens, not keyboards, but never the ports going “bad”. USB-C just doesn’t seem robust enough for real life. The keyboards don’t seem to be either, so I guess it’s just corporate entropy.

        1. USB-C itself is a robust physical connector. The problem is Apple. It wants to use one physical connector for WAY too many functions. This creates unnecessary incompaitibility and firmware complication, and it significantly increases the physical wear and abuse that one connector takes.

          The best solution would be to retain a separate Magsafe power connector, a separate audio connector (ideally the legacy MacBook mini Toslink/minijack connector), and use USB-C for just data and video. If the last 3 years of MacBooks had retained a legacy USB-A port, it would have further reduced the unnecessary dongle hell for everyone that has legacy accessories.

          You can thank Apple for software/firmware glitches and dongle hell. Nobody made Apple choose to over complicate the USB-C implementation.

  1. The problem is accessories are not standardized, and not all USB Cs are equal in quality or capacity. I’ve read articles about how it’s extremely hard to find USB C wired headphones (if one insists on going the wired route). I don’t want to plug junk into my Apple devices.

  2. Wireless is the way to go. Since I got the iPhoneX, I rarely plug in for charging. Typically only needed when traveling. At home have a wireless charging stand next to the bed and the car has a wireless charging pad when driving.
    Once you experience this, wires are such an inconvenience.
    Also the USB3 format may require a slight larger receptacle.

  3. All I know is the cables now used are pure junque, which Apple does no make. We need something that’s at least durable and can be plugged in easily any way, no down or up mess. Wireless. Right. I bought the very first Airport Base Station attempting to go wireless. My wires have increased trying to go wireless. Wireless charger? Oh, you don’t plug it in, eh? Wires boys, we gotta have wires. Plain old copper wrapped in plastic.

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