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  • Writer's pictureMichael Amelio

Apple Abandons Lightning Connector in Favor of USB-C

On September 12, 2012, Apple marked the end of an era by phasing out its bulky 15-pin connector and ushering in the era of the sleek, smooth, and reversible 8-pin connector known as the Lightning plug.

This innovation served the Apple ecosystem admirably, offering a versatile range of power and data transfer options. For Apple enthusiasts, it became the go-to connector for all their needs, spanning across the full spectrum of Apple's portable devices. Not only did it charge iPhones and iPads, but it also made its way into keyboards, AirPods, the Apple Pencil, and numerous other small peripherals. Its compact design and widespread availability, with virtually everyone owning one or more Apple chargers, made it an indispensable companion for billions of devices worldwide.

However, as electronic devices grew increasingly power-hungry, Apple recognized that USB-C might be a more fitting choice. The transition began as early as 2018 when iPad Pro models adopted USB-C. In 2020, the iPad Air followed suit, and in 2022, the 10th-generation iPad joined the USB-C club. The remote control for the Apple TV 4K also embraced USB-C, signaling the beginning of the end for the Lightning connector. This shift was not exclusive to Apple, as the global trend leaned heavily towards USB-C adoption. One major driving force behind this shift was the European Union's determination to combat e-waste and simplify the charging landscape by endorsing USB Type-C.

In 2022, the European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a vote (602 to 13) mandating that all devices, including phones, tablets, cameras, headphones, headsets, video game consoles, portable speakers, earbuds, and laptops with up to 100W power delivery, must feature a USB Type-C port.

Today, as part of its iPhone 15 launch, the Cupertino-based company made the historic announcement that the Lightning connector would bid farewell, precisely 11 years since its introduction. The future is powered by USB-C for Apple and its ever-evolving lineup of devices.

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