Apple Bids Farewell to Lightning Connector: What’s New with iOS 15?


The anticipation was mounting as Apple’s annual event approached, promising new releases and updates to their popular devices. The iPhone 15 took center stage with a brighter screen and an upgraded camera system, but the biggest news was the removal of the lightning charging connector in favor of a USB-C cable, following the European Union’s directive.

Apple made the announcement during their annual event, revealing that the iPhone 15 would feature the universally accepted standard of a USB-C connector, which would be introduced alongside a new line of Apple Watches with a more powerful processor. While the upgrades were welcomed, some experts were skeptical about the lack of headline-grabbing changes from Apple this year.

“It isn’t a surprise given the maturity of the iPhone and Watch,” said Ben Wood of CCS Insight. “It reflects just how refined the iPhone and Watch devices are and how tough it has become to deliver truly disruptive updates every year.”

To ease the transition to the new connector, Apple unveiled a lightning-to-USB-C converter for £29 ($36), allowing users to connect their existing lightning accessories to the latest USB-C-enabled iPhones and iPads. The move marked a departure from Apple’s exclusive use of the lightning port, with the iPad Pro and Mac computers already using USB-C.

The removal of the proprietary charging connector was part of the European Union’s effort to promote customer convenience, save costs, and reduce electronic waste through charger re-use. While the change was lauded for its environmental benefits, there were concerns about the potential increase in abandoned cables as users transitioned to the new USB-C standard.

In response to these concerns, Apple made several environmental promises during the launch event, including achieving carbon neutrality for the Apple Watch line and incorporating more recycled materials into the batteries and components of their devices. The brand also committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 and announced plans to stop using leather in all of its accessories.

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, described the new iPhone models as “the best and most capable iPhones we’ve ever made,” highlighting features such as better cameras and brighter displays on the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, and a titanium frame for the top-tier iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max to enhance durability. The Pro and Max models also introduced an “action button” that can be assigned multiple functions in place of the traditional mute switch.

The latest Apple Watch featured gesture control, allowing users to answer or dismiss calls by tapping two fingers together on the hand holding the device. Despite the incremental upgrades to these devices, questions remained about whether customers would be willing to pay the premium prices for them, especially during a cost-of-living crisis.

In the United Kingdom, the base prices for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro were £799 and £999, respectively. Analyst Paolo Pescatore emphasized the importance of enhancing the overall user experience to justify the price tag and appeal to Apple’s core user base, even as competitors like Huawei introduced new smartphones in the market.

Despite fluctuations in Apple’s stock following news of the Chinese government’s ban on officials using iPhones, the company’s strong performance in smartphone shipments was a silver lining. While the overall smartphone market experienced a decline in shipments, Counterpoint Research found that Apple managed to maintain a relatively stable shipment volume compared to other major smartphone makers, demonstrating the enduring appeal of Apple products to consumers worldwide.

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