USB-C in smartphones is nothing new, with Android devices having used the port for the better part of a decade now. But, despite all of that time on Android, it’s the iPhone 15’s switch to USB-C that might finally fix the biggest problem with Android accessories, and Android users will be able to enjoy those benefits while some existing iPhone owners take issue with the change.
There are two main ways I see this happening, and it starts with standardization.
By using real standards, Apple can help set the standard
USB-C cables have, for years, been a bit of a mess. While you might buy a premium cable that’s perfectly suited to charging, data transfer, and anything else, a cheap cable bought on Amazon or at a store could vary wildly in quality. For quite a while, buying a USB-C cable was a mess until some folks, like Google’s Benson Legun, stepped in to help push the industry in the right direction.
Apple’s switch to USB-C won’t suddenly solve this. But with an entire generation of iPhones adopting the standard, it’s sure to help push things in the right direction again.
While there are plenty of bad Lightning cables out there, a decade of that standard has led many folks to know what to look for in terms of brands. And, lo and behold, many of those brands such as Anker and others also make USB-C cables.
Now that’s not to say having Apple as the “standard” is perfect. Apple restricts iPhones to charging at just 20W over USB-C, far below the standard’s theoretical limits and the speeds that many existing Android phones are capable of using. For instance, most Samsung flagships are rated for 45W charging, more than twice Apple’s top speed. But still, I feel this is going to be a net positive.
USB-C will truly, finally be everywhere
The big benefit that we, as Android users, will see from Apple’s switch to USB-C is the one that inspired this change.
USB-C will be everywhere as the one cable to rule them all.
If you’re in an Uber/Lyft, or out with friends, or even out in public, everyone will use the same cable. This won’t happen overnight, of course, but in the long run, folks won’t see the confusion that “Big E” so perfectly encapsulates about “a phone cable.”
I really can’t stress how great this is going to be in the long run for everyone. There are just so many examples where having a single cable type for everything will be a benefit to everyone, but I think Michael Fisher really nailed the sentiment in a tweet earlier this week.
Some existing iPhone owners are already complaining about the change
Apple introduced the Lightning port back in 2012, just over a decade ago, and used that cable through every single iPhone sold up until the iPhone 15 series. iPads slowly made the switch over the past several years, but it took EU legislation to finally get Apple to change over the iPhone – despite how it was announced, it was not Apple’s choice, and they fought it.
The thing is that, objectively, the Lighting connector is good. The super thin design is simple and actually more durable than USB-C. If Apple had opened the Lightning connector to the whole industry, I don’t think anyone would have complained about it. But, that’s not what happened; instead, the connector was limited solely to Apple devices, and with “Made for iPhone” fees for accessory makers.
It’s because of that choice that USB-C has become the industry standard, and the reason that the EU has made it a requirement. And that’s a good thing. As we’ve discussed in this post, having USB-C everywhere will make everyone’s lives a lot more convenient, and having a player as big as the iPhone in the game means that everyone benefits.
Yet, existing iPhone owners are complaining about it.
A great example of this comes from our own Max Weinbach, who, on Twitter/X, relayed a story of someone who bought an iPhone 14 Pro just to avoid the switch to USB-C.
And, really, she’s not alone. A lot of current iPhone owners are going to be annoyed that Apple is switching their port and pushing them to buy new cables – or adapters, in the case of the insane people out there. It doesn’t take much searching to find lots of examples of iPhone owners and fans who are annoyed at the change.
But those shortsighted complaints won’t change Apple’s mind, and that’s great news for Android owners.
That’s especially true because there are short-term benefits for Android users.
Brands like Nomad and Satechi which primarily make iPhone accessories will, suddenly, also be making Android accessories. And this isn’t just a result of the switch to USB-C, it’s also thanks to the arrival of Qi2, which makes Apple’s MagSafe an industry standard that will eventually start showing up in Android phones.
Personally, I’m excited for this brave new world we’re entering, both as someone who loves and uses Android phones every single day, and as someone who just bought their first new iPhone in several years in part because Apple finally adopted the port that’s all over my home – stay tuned for more on that in the weeks to come.
What do you think? Let’s discuss further in the comments below!