Why does iPhone 14 still use a Lightning cable?

We have reached the fourteenth generation of one of the most popular smartphones in the world, the iPhone. And, along with it, a lot of criticism, little praise, and some reservations. That’s because, in the middle of 2022, Apple still insists on some questionable strategies.

One of them is the cable/cellular connection issue. Why does iPhone 14 still use a Lightning cable? We already see several other manufacturers that have evolved in this direction, not only in the main line but even in the entry models.

However, the Cupertino-born brand has maintained this pattern since it was created in 2012, with the arrival of the iPhone 5. Thus, I intend to elaborate on some points that may (or may not) justify her choice to keep this in her latest release.

Backward compatibility may be one of the factors

Those who followed the launch of the iPhone 5 saw how troubled the reception of the new Lightning cable was, which would replace the ten-pin connector used in all Apple mobile products until then.

That’s because consumers were very inserted in this standard, they could use with iPod and iPhone, without the need for a cable for each device. However, with the arrival of Lightning, this compatibility with “outdated” devices was lost.

This generated a lot of commotion and criticism of the new connection, despite it being faster, smaller and versatile, being able to plug in anywhere to work.

This can all be leveraged, as the ten-pin cable didn’t have many positives in its favor, apart from backward compatibility.

However, Lightning has been present in the Apple ecosystem for almost 10 years. That is, migrating to a new connector will generate a lot of stress and e-waste.

There is a lot of revenue generated by Lightning

It may not be that everyone knows, but the Lightning cable is responsible for a part of Apple’s revenue. And I’m not talking about selling the cable in stores and resellers.

The point is the license that Apple charges to certify the origin of this cable so that not just any manufacturer can replicate the technology. The so-called MFi (Made for iPhone), is a seal of quality that the company distributes to those who are interested in producing their accessories, from cables, cases, and films.

To receive this certificate, it is necessary to follow very strict rules in the production line and also in the quality level of the material used. In addition, of course, to pay the fee to be evaluated and apply the seal on the packaging.

Thus, Apple guarantees a very interesting revenue from this business model, so adopting an open standard (such as USB-C) would deprive the brand of continuing to receive this source of income. Therefore, it is not likely that she will give it up without considering alternatives to replace it.

According to some reports issued recently, Apple may have made a revenue of 6.5 billion dollars from the sale of accessories and cables. That’s since she abolished the presence of chargers and headphones in the iPhone case.

In addition to reducing the size of the box, which reduces the cost of the product, it still manages to have high control over what can or cannot be connected to its devices, through mandatory licenses.

Other pressures could force Apple to change

Despite being a comfortable scenario for Apple, earning an extra income and not having to worry about new prototypes and patents, some outside forces can start to rock that boat.

This is the case, for example, of the EU (European Union) which is working to sanction a law that will require a standardization of chargers for electronic devices. USB-C was chosen to take on this role. Since he manages to be very versatile and efficient in what they propose.

Even if Apple continues to resist, it shouldn’t take long for other regions of the world to follow the example of Europe, in order to maintain good economic relations.

Another complicating factor in this story is the limitation of Lightning itself since it uses the USB 2.0 connection standard, extremely outdated for the data world we use today.

Even more so considering the recent launch of the iPhone 14 Pro and its predecessor. Both are very powerful devices when it comes to filming and capturing photographs. With Pro Res mode, iPhone 14 Pro creates very large and raw files.

These files are normally transferred to editing stations, whether a notebook or desktop, via cable. However, using a very slow transfer pattern — due to technical limitations — harms the work process.

Since accessing the material can take long hours of extraction. This in itself can harm an audience that seeks to use the iPhone 14 Pro or even the iPhone 13 Pro as a work tool.

In addition, if the device is intended to be professional, it is necessary to review several aspects, not only hardware and software but also accessories and compatibility.

Thus, if Apple intends to remain a reference in the world of photographs and films, capturing increasingly closer to professional cameras, it also needs to adapt to what producers use.

Otherwise, it can start to be seen as a brand that, despite investing in premium and differentiated resources, is not able to offer an environment that abuses all its firepower.

What is the successor to the Lightning cable?

Although Apple is unlikely to yield to pressure from regulatory bodies — as it has done with Procon here in Brazil — it is to be expected that it will eventually replace the Lightning cable.

Apparently, the manufacturer’s next step should be to convert all its devices to wireless charging, at least portable ones such as headphones, smartwatches, and smartphones.

This is due to the revival of the MagSafe standard a few years ago, which, again, is an Apple-only standard. And because of that, it can become a great successor to Lightning, in addition to following the Apple trend when it comes to accessories and physical connections.

Already in its recent launch, the iPhone 14, removed the chip drawer. Thus, it is to be expected that at some point in the future, the cable entry will be erased from the models to make way for wireless charging only.

However, we can only wait to see the next steps of the market. Especially because the technology industry is constantly evolving, even though we may be reaching a plateau of leaps in resources.

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