Cables and cords and connectors are a royal pain in the patootie. I go far enough back into Apple history that I remember ADB and SCSI, parallel and serial, and cheered when Apple adopted the USB standard with the original iMac in 1998. That was 20 years ago.
What rules the day today?
USB? OK, which version? There are too many to count, but USB-A, version 3.x seems to be everywhere, including mobile devices. The part that plugs into each device varies thanks to never ending improvements.
There’s USB Type A and B, Mini A and Mini B and Mini AB. Then there’s Micro B, Micro AB, and a few others before we get to the most recent, USB-C. That’s Type C. Apple’s devices utilize USB USB Type A, mostly on the Mac and chargers, but also Type C, but only on more recent Macs; thanks to the fact that USB Type C and Thunderbolt 3 share the same connector.
One of the anti-Apple crusaders at ZDNot asks, ‘Should Apple ditch the Lightning Port?‘
Fair question, right? After all, we have far more cables and connectors than we can keep track of, and the one that is closest to a Lightning connector is USB-C (Type C). Yes, they’re similar in size and capability, but they are different. Both can power a device. Both can transfer data from one device to another. Both are reversible.
What’s not to like?
Should Apple ditch the Lightning connector already running on a billion devices for a USB-C connector?
It doesn’t matter. We’re on the way towards wireless devices which won’t need to be plugged into anything. Apple includes a Lightning connector with each new iPhone and iPad so there is little to be gained (customers who need extras cables would have to buy it, whether USB-C or Lightning, so little is gained by a different standard).
Wait. Wireless devices?
Yes, wireless charging is here already with iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X (not to mention Apple Watch) so you can see where the future is going. Wireless charging. You’ll know we’re there when new iPhones show up without a Lightning port.
Somehow or another Adrian Kingsley-Hughes became pragmatic about Apple’s cables.
I’d love to be able to fast-charge my iPhone with a cheap USB-C cable, but having to toss out everything that connects to my iPhone’s Lightning port would be annoying (and expensive).
The path to a truly wireless iPhone for Apple is one also fraught with potential consumer backlash. The elimination of the archaic 3.5mm headphone jack caused uproar despite the fact that Apple ships a free Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter with every new iPhone.
The uproar was evident at ZDNot and other technology publications, not with iPhone customers who don’t seem to miss the old 3.5mm headphone jack at all. iPhone sales went up, not down.
Consumers don’t like change. They also don’t like having to carry dongles, even if they are free.
Change happens and cannot be stopped. It’s here already. It’s been happening forever. It’s coming again. As to dongles, the adapter wasn’t really a dongle because it snapped onto the earbuds and headphones with ease and stayed there, and besides, wireless earbuds and headphones are all the rage these days.
It would be nice to have a single connector and cable that ruled the world everywhere. USB-C probably could do the job, especially if Thunderbolt 3 goes along for the ride on every device, but that won’t happen, and it’s likely we’ll have Lightning cables until everything goes wireless and that could take a few years.