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Apple loses the Lightning connector

Apple will be announcing their new iPhone 15 series this coming Tuesday morning, 10am California time. One of the biggest little changes will be replacing the Lightning port with a USB-C port. Both connectors are similar in size and both can be inserted either way. The change results from a requirement of European Union regulators that all phone manufacturers standardize on a single connector to reduce electronic waste. Expect also to USB-C connectors on all new Airpods and iPads.

The change will likely garner lots of complaints- something that happens with most any change, especially when you’ll need to discard or replace your expensive accessories and cables. There’s also an educational process that will be needed because USB-C comes with more variations than Lightning.

While all USB-C cables look alike, there are two kinds, charging and data cables. Some USB-C cables will work for charging, but not work for high-speed data transfer. For example, when conecting your phone to Car Play in your car, you’ll want a USB-C 3.2 data cable. A data cable will work for everything, but costs several times more than a charging cable.

Then there’s the issue of USB-C chargers. Some devices can be charged using any USB-C charger because the device can tell the charger how many volts it needs and the charger adjusts itself, while other, less costly devices need a 5-volt charger. The good news is that an iPhone, MacBook, and the new Airpods with a USB-C connector will be able to be charged using the same cable and same MacBook charger. While this EU-mandated change is intended to simplify, you can see how it creates issues of its own.