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Should Apple be forced to abandon the Lightning connector and switch to USB?

The European Commission is considering forcing Apple to dump the Lightning connector and adopt the USB standard along with all other manufacturers. Let's take a look at the arguments for and against such a move.
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1 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Lightning is a good, solid connector

When Apple first unveiled the Lightning connector I have to admit that I was more than a little skeptical.

But after using it for almost six years I have to say that it's a solid connector. In that time I've never had a problem with the socket or the connector itself on any device (the cables themselves, now that's another matter.

I find it to be far more robust than the USB-C connector. I can't remember how many USB-C connectors I've accidentally damaged or crushed.

Lightning is a good, solid connector
2 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Lighting is more compact that USB-C

USB-C connectors are chunky, far bulkier than the Lightning connector. That bulky connector might be at home on a laptop, but it feels gigantic on a smartphone.

This is a non-issue
3 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

This is a non-issue

The European Commission's concern is that the differing charging standards is generating additional e-waste. But things are very different these days compared to how things were back in 2009 when the EU last stepped in to try to standardize chargers.

These days chargers are standardized, making use the USB standard, and it's only the cable that we plug into the charger that's the issue. Gone are the days of chargers with integrated cables.

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4 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Does the iPhone even need a cable?

Why doesn't Apple just ditch Lightning and make the iPhone 100 percent wire-free, moving over to wireless charging and wireless connectivity to other devices over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth? It means one less port to have to fit (and find room for), one less hole for dirt, debris, and moisture t get into the device, and a move forward to a wireless future.

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5 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

USB-C cables are cheap

Cheap and plentiful. Far, far cheaper than Apple's official Lighting cable, and cheaper than most MFi-compliant cables too.

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6 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

I have a lot of gear that uses Lightning

Not only do I have accessories that use the Lightning connector, but I also have old stuff that used Apple's 30-pin connector that I still use thanks to the 30-pin-to-Lightning converter that Apple made.

Apple making the switch from Lightning to USB would no doubt generate additional e-waste (I doubt Apple would make a 30-pin-to-USB converter for all of us still using older gear).

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7 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

USB-C (and for that matter, micro USB) is fragile

I've lost count of the number of connectors I've broken or crushed. Even carrying a cable in a pocket along with a few keys and coins seems risky.

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8 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

USB-C connectors are prone to damage from debris intrusion

I've lost a number of cables this way. Again, carrying them in a pocket, or exposing them to sand or grit seems to be the end for them (and it also risks damaging the connector on the device, which is far more expensive to replace than a cable.

Here is a photo of a cable that had been in an industrial environment for only a few weeks.

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9 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Apple makes a micro USB to Lightning adapter

If you're still using your old phone charger and don't want to give up on it (or the cable), Apple makes a micro USB to Lightning adapter. Yeah, at $19 is crazy expensive, but so is everything Apple makes.

USB-C-to-USB-A cables also everywhere
10 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

USB-C-to-USB-A cables also everywhere

No USB-C? No problem, just use a regular USB-A port. No compatibility issues whatsoever.

Cheaper accessories
11 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Cheaper accessories

Manufacturers not having to pay apple a licensing fee for the Lighting connector would pave the way for cheaper accessories. But bear in mind that "cheaper" doesn't necessarily mean "better."

Even Apple is shifting to USB-C
12 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Even Apple is shifting to USB-C

Apple's current crop of MacBooks all feature USB-C. If this port is good enough for the MacBook, why not for the iPhone?

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