GADGET obsessives can get wound up about anything – even cables.
This week, Apple decided to bin the old Lightning charging port from the new iPhone 15 and swap it out for something much better.
Critics will moan about the fact that you can’t use your old Lightning cables in the new USB-C port (without an adapter, anyway).
It’s a bit like complaining that your new smart TV won’t take DVDs. The world has moved on, right?
I’m going to do my best to convince you that your old Lightning cables need to go the way of the dodo.
It’s time for a brighter USB-C future. Join me in this utopia.
What the heck is USB-C, anyway?
If you’ve used any electronics in the last decade, you’ll know that USB is a type of connector.
Well USB-C is also a type of connector, but newer, better, smaller, faster and much less ugly.
USB-C dates back to 2014 and is now widely used for charging gadgets and transferring data.
The port is very common on modern Android phones, and now regularly appears in cars, on computers and on consumer tech generally.
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There’s even one built into the wall of the hotel room where I’m writing this article.
Apple has also adopted USB-C across its iPad and MacBook models in recent years.
In fact, there’s every chance you have a few of these cables at home already.
Now Lightning ports – which first appeared in 2012 – have finally been scrapped from the iPhone too. About time. USB-C arrives in their stead.
So why shouldn’t we be furious?
You know that drawer full of myriad cables you have at home?
Well that’s going to keep growing, only now it’s going to be full of the same beautiful cable: USB-C.
Isn’t that a nice thought? That all of your gadgets in the future will all plug in using the same cable?
Android and iPhone fans can come together in a glorious cable unison like never before.
Your iPhone can run on the same cable that was just powering up your MacBook – and maybe even your PlayStation DualSense controller or beloved novelty desk fan.
It sounds impossible. It feels like only yesterday that all gadget makers had their own unique cable for every single product.
I’ve still got cupboards full of strange cables whose origins escape me.
Naturally I fear throwing them away in case I need to plug in a long-forgotten laptop from 2008.
That cursed cable-swamp of a life will soon be a strange and distant memory as everything plugs from USB-C port to USB-C port and back again.
Plus even if you are angry about all of this, the ire shouldn't be directed at Apple. They didn’t really have a choice.
Last year the EU approved a law that forces gadget makers to feature USB-C on their new products.
So Apple would have had to make the change from 2024 anyway.
Sure, it will create some e-waste in the near future.
But the EU rightly reckons that it will reduce e-waste in the long term.
You’ll be able to tell your grandchildren about the selfless deed of buying an iPhone 15 and saving the planet. Not all heroes wear capes.
USB-C also has some technical advantages over Lightning.
A USB-C connector can support higher power levels than Lightning, and offer faster data transfer speeds.
But really, the big perk is that everything will use the same cable. That’s the dream, soon a reality.
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So while we should rightly mourn the Lightning cable and the good times we had with it, it’s time to accept that it’s ultimately destined for the same fate as watching movies on VHS and using an abacus to count things.
I’ll USB-C you on the other side.
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