Apple announced the new iPhone 15 in all its glory and colorful variations on Tuesday. For some, the event marked an opportunity to marvel at the company’s high-tech innovation in the smartphone space — drooling at the chance to film spatial video on the Pro model, thinking about the amazing pics you’d snap with an upgraded camera, and debating between pink and shiny new titanium.
But the biggest and best change for the average consumer — for someone like me — is something Apple did not want to do. All iPhone 15 models will charge via a USB-C connector instead of a Lightning port. If that seems underwhelming at first, let me explain. Because it’s actually a huge deal.
Assuming you’re not a power user, think of the features you actually use on your iPhone. I’ll tell you mine. I use Maps to get around the city. I text. I call. I scroll through TikTok endlessly. I check my email. Most of my daily phone usage requires no more than a keyboard and a WiFi signal.
Do you know what I hardly use? All the nonsense Apple promises is life-changing.
Force Touch? Never used it, and I wasn’t alone. I have never taken a single video on cinematic mode. I’m still running iOS 15 because I have absolutely no need for anything on iOS 16, let alone the soon-to-come iOS 17.
Do you know what I do need, as a regular, non-tech-geek user? A universal charging port. And hopefully one that isn’t broken. Right now, I can only charge my iPhone 13 wirelessly because my Lightning port — which has broken on all my phones — won’t take a charge. Apple’s proprietary charging system has a clever name but can be super fragile. In fact, the Lightning cables have a long history of breaking as well.
While I’m not alone in this issue, I admit it could be a me problem. I run with my phone in my pocket which, I’m sure, increases debris and liquid build up. But to me, a USB-C connection feels far more durable, and I’ve never had an issue charging my laptop or other devices with a USB-C. And that brings me to my next point.
Even if your Lightning port has never worn out, a shift to USB-C is still significant for you. It’s not the most innovative and cool, sure, but it’s practical. Now, every device you use can charge with the same connector cable. You can finally pack a single cord for every electronic! And you can borrow a charger from an Android user! It’s like we’re living in a whole new world.
To be clear, Apple did not want to do this. The company played it off like some big remodel it always planned on undertaking. But the change is the result of the European Union passing a law requiring universal compatibility via USB-C by 2024. Apple was forced to join the rest of the world and make its phone able to charge via the same port as its laptops and tablets. It could no longer force you to buy a different charger just because it could. Apple can tout updated buttons or world-class cameras all it wants, but this actually matters for everyday people.
I’ll likely soon spring for the iPhone 15 because, you know, my current phone can’t charge. I don’t know if I’ll ever really use the now-standard Dynamic Island. But I will absolutely power-up my phone with my laptop charger and vice versa. Somewhere, an Apple exec is probably pissed off at such a notion. For that, I am thankful.