Lightning Connector Turns 10 Today as iPhone Rumored to Adopt USB-C Next Year

Today marks 10 years since Apple introduced the iPhone 5 with an all-new Lightning connector, which replaced the previous 30-pin dock connector that originated on the iPod. Apple's former marketing chief Phil Schiller described Lightning as a "modern connector for the next decade," and this milestone has now been achieved.

iPhone 5 Lightning
iPhone 14 models remain equipped with a Lightning connector, but Apple is widely expected to switch to USB-C for iPhone 15 models next year.

Apple already offers USB-C ports on every Mac and nearly every iPad that it sells, along with the Studio Display, Pro Display XDR, some Beats headphones, and a few other accessories. Rumors suggest the upcoming 10th-generation entry-level iPad will also adopt USB-C, followed by AirPods charging cases and the MagSafe Battery Pack next year.

In June, the European Union announced that it reached an agreement to introduce a new law that would make USB-C the common charging port across all new smartphones, tablets, headphones, and many other electronics by fall 2024. iPhone 15 models are expected to launch around September 2023, ahead of the European Union's deadline.

While the Lightning cable was the first reversible charging cable, USB-C has become a very popular charging standard across a countless number of devices. A major benefit of USB-C for the iPhone would be faster data transfer speeds, as Lightning on the iPhone 13 and earlier tops out at 480 Mbps, while USB-C can achieve up to 5 to 10 Gbps depending on the spec, or even up to 40 Gbps if the iPhone supported Thunderbolt 3.

Top Rated Comments

Paradoxally Avatar
21 months ago
Schiller wasn't lying when he said it was for the next decade.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MallardDuck Avatar
21 months ago
best thing about lightning was that it's reversible and easily pluggable. Unlike, for example, every USB connector until C.

Whoever invented the USB-B micro (2 and 3) need to spend all eternity trying to plug them in....
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fwmireault Avatar
21 months ago
Definitely a big improvement over the 30-pin connector, but I wish Apple would have waited just a bit more in 2012 and directly put a USB-C port to the iPhone.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
840quadra Avatar
21 months ago
Biggest disappointment on the 14 series is lack of USB-C!

Lets have ProRes video, and 48 Megapixel cameras, but keep 10yo IO.. Brilliant!

That said, the 13 pro isn't terrible with regards to IO, but I do notice how much faster my iPad mini 6 is with regards to mass file copy activity through the physical port.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
citysnaps Avatar
21 months ago
Still love Lightening and its mechanical robustness for phones. Perfect for its intended purpose where there will be many thousands of insertions over its lifetime in imperfect environments.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
citysnaps Avatar
21 months ago

Good. Time for retirement.

Lightning was a VAST improvement over 30-pin and mini-USB, but it's time to move on to USB-C. In some ways Lightning may still be superior to USB-C but the market has spoken.
I love USB-C for connecting my computer to four displays, disk drives, flight yoke/throttles, Stream Deck etc. I might connect/disconnect them at most a dozen times (likely less) per year. The loads of bandwidth available for displays and drives is essential.

My iPhone is a much different story. Somehow I've managed to get by and survive not being able to transfer data to/from it at multi-gigabit/sec rates. I do appreciate the mechanical robustness of the connectors and connections when it comes time to charge.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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