The days of iPhones with Lightning ports are over. Apple will no longer be able to include its own Lightning port in its products, including the iPhone, after the European Union passed a law last year requiring devices to have a common charging port. Instead, USB-C charging will be the norm going forward.
We are making small steps towards the December 28, 2024 deadline. This deadline is when phones without a USB-C port can no longer be sold within the EU. And as soon as the iPhone 15 is released this fall, it will likely be in Apple’s hands. These phones are widely expected to feature USB-C ports in time for EU deadlines.
By the way, this is not just the EU. India has also recently joined the list of member states. (opens in new tab) So by 2025, we need to move our smartphones to USB-C. This makes it even less likely that Apple will make different models for his EU/India and other regions.
But even if the iPhone 15 is ready for USB-C this year, I wonder if the rest of the world is ready for USB-C charging. I recently traveled half the world with my Google Pixel 7 Pro. A great phone in its own right, one that happens to already include a USB-C charging port. So far, I’ve had no complaints about the Pixel 7 Pro’s fast charging, but traveling with this phone was a nightmare.
Travel with your USB-C phone
The Pixel 7 Pro is one of the best camera phones out there and I can’t wait to take it on holiday trips. I was going to travel to India from the US and my first thought was what conversion plugs I would likely need to fit into an electrical socket in India. Most travel converters available only had USB-A ports. The Pixel 7 Pro, like most Android phones, ships with a USB Type-C to Type-C cable. There are no provisions or converters anywhere for USB-A ports.
I immediately ordered a Type-C to Type-A converter on Amazon (opens in new tab) for $8. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only time I had trouble charging my phone on this trip.
As soon as I got on the plane, I realized that the only port available on board for charging my phone was the Type A one. I panicked — the Pixel 7 Pro has underwhelming battery life, even with excellent charging infrastructure. This phone won’t survive his 10 hour flight. Not all downloaded movies are available for viewing.
The only thing that saved me was a small $8 converter I bought. Charging with it was very slow, but at least it was something. Again, I noticed that at Heathrow Airport, all charging stations only offer USB-A charging.
It’s not just the airline I was traveling with for this trip that has limited charging options. I was lucky enough to have an iPhone at the time, so the lack of a USB-C charger wasn’t an issue, at least until the iPhone 15 debuted.
USB-C: Not just for smartphones
My travel experience has made it clear that the world doesn’t seem ready for USB-C charging, even if the legislature is pushing it. Even if your phone comes with a USB-C port, you still need a USB-A to USB-C cable to take advantage of many publicly available charging stations. This seems to defeat the purpose of fast data transfer speeds and charging.
USB-C is about 33% faster than Lightning when it comes to data transfer, so it’s definitely good news for users. At the same time, Apple claims that the move to USB-C will create more e-waste as users throw away their old Lightning cables. If this is the phone that makes the switch, we’ll have to see what kind of cable Apple decided to use for the iPhone 15 series.
In the long run, creating a single charging standard would be better for everyone, but the infrastructure would have to catch up. So at first, this will be a bit of an awkward situation for most people moving from good old Lightning or USB-A to USB-C.
At CES 2023, we learned that Qi2 wireless charging will bring MagSafe technology to Samsung phones. This will unify wireless charging between Samsung and iPhones, a beneficial move for consumers. Hopefully, in the future, the benefits of traveling with USB-C will be available without the clutter of cables and converters.
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