Say goodbye to the Lightning interface, iPhone 15 finally uses USB-C

Apple's Lightning interface first came out eleven years ago. It can be plugged in both front and back, and it is compact and durable. In some specifications and concepts, it surpassed the mainstream MicroUSB interface at that time.

▲ Apple Lightning interface picture from: Julianne Pepitone

With 11 years of persistence and rising iPhone sales, Apple's Lightning interface has already been divided with USB-C.

However, in the past eleven years, the glory of Lightning has been overshadowed by USB-C.

▲ One USB-C, connect all

After several generations of changes, USB-C is like a container with great potential, which accommodates all high-standard standards such as fast charging, bandwidth, data, audio and video, etc., without any tolerance.

Perhaps seeing the potential of USB-C, in 2016, MacBook Pro fully accepted this form of interface, and cut off others in one breath, leaving only 4 Thunderbolt interfaces.

Later, the iPad Pro also abandoned the Lightning interface and upgraded to the Thunderbolt interface in the form of USB-C.

Interestingly, in Apple's plan, both MacBook Pro and iPad Pro have given a layer of "productivity".

However, as the iPhone Pro series focuses on upgrading audio-visual performance, it also makes them more like an audio-visual productivity tool. However, the performance of the Lightning interface limits the imagination of the Pro series.

Perhaps in Apple's own plan, in the Pro series of a certain generation of iPhone in the future, the USB-C interface will be replaced to release the demand for "productivity".

With the European Union's regulations in June 2022, the time for Apple's iterative interface is limited to before the fall of 2024.

According to Apple's consistent product change strategy, in order to stabilize shipments in the EU, the iPhone 15 generation needs to be replaced with USB-C, which means that in another 6 months, the Lightning interface will be eliminated, and the USB-C interface will be replaced. The Great Unity will be completed.

iPhone 15, more than C

Even with the new EU regulations, forcing the iPhone to replace it with a USB-C interface is still a bit magical.

▲ Ken Pillonel made the world's first USB-C iPhone X

Over the past 11 years, hundreds of millions of iPhones have flooded into the market, and the MFi third-party certified accessory system spawned by Lightning, a private standard, has earned considerable profits for Apple.

The replacement of the interface is undoubtedly a direct move to Apple's cake, and it is hard to imagine that Apple will directly compromise and let the iPhone be replaced with a USB-C interface.

But on Friday morning, @Unknownz21 exposed a "close-up of the bottom of the iPhone 15 Pro" on Twitter.

It may seem ordinary, but it is actually unusual.

One is that the interface is replaced by USB-C, the other is that the frame design style has changed, and it is more rounded, and the third is that the material is somewhat similar to Apple Watch Ultra, that is, titanium alloy.

▲ Apple Watch Ultra

Not only this real shot, but also the earlier CAD drawings of the iPhone 15 Pro were exposed, and 9to5Mac also made a 3D rendering of the iPhone 15 Pro.

It also directly shows that the iPhone 15 Pro series will have a new design style, and there will be a little arc transition between the frame and the screen.

And the frame of the screen will also become narrower, visual inspection, feel and vision will be improved.

The new interface (although it is forced), the new design style (although it is a small adjustment), and the new material seem to imply that the iPhone 15 series will be a new watershed in the design of the iPhone.

According to the past rhythm, a design style will last for about 3 to 4 years. The 3D rounded style of iPhone 6 to iPhone 8, the full-screen rounded style of iPhone X to iPhone 11, and the retro right-angled edges of iPhone 12 to iPhone 14.

When it comes to the iPhone 15, it seems that it can be called a comprehensive design style, which combines a straight screen and rounded borders.

▲ iPhone 15 Ultra imagined according to Apple Watch Ultra

To say that the iPhone 14 Pro has joined the Smart Island and become an excellent purchase factor, then there are three iPhone 15 Pros, one is USB-C, the other is a new design, and the third is titanium alloy.

Completely widen the gap between Pro and digital basic models

In recent generations of iPhone, while expanding the product line, it has also begun to gradually open up its positioning to distinguish the gap between Pro and non-Pro, and avoid the appearance of products with similar positioning.

The distinction between the iPhone 15's digital base model and the Pro series may have reached a historical extreme.

▲ iPhone 14 family

The transmission bandwidth of the Lightning interface is only about 480Mbps, which is about the level of USB 2.0, and the maximum charging power supported is about 27W.

After replacing it with USB-C, the upper limit of the interface of 10Gbps and 240W can be unlocked.

Apple is likely to introduce the Thunderbolt interface into the iPhone Pro, so that the iPhone Pro, iPad Pro, and MacBook Pro have closer connections and scalability.

Maximize the productivity of Pro suffix products.

In addition, after Apple's personnel adjustment and division of labor with the team, the pragmatism design orientation has gradually become the main style of Apple, especially the Pro series.

The introduction of titanium alloy is actually to reduce the weight of the iPhone and prepare for the subsequent addition of new components.

However, the hardness of titanium alloy is slightly weaker than that of stainless steel. The frame of Apple Watch Ultra is very scratch-resistant, but it is easy to leave bump marks.

The arc-shaped frame on the iPhone 15 Pro may be a special treatment to reduce bump marks.

The adjustment, or optimization, of materials and shapes is almost a practice dominated by pragmatism.

As for the digital basic model, it may not have a particularly big change compared to the previous generation.

Referring to the iPad 10 , even if the iPhone 15 uses the USB-C interface, its interface standard will remain at USB 2.0, and its performance will be on par with the current Lightning.

In terms of design, the classic combination of right-angled edges and aluminum alloy is still maintained. After all, the processing cost of titanium alloy is much higher. Different design styles make it easier to widen the gap in positioning, which serves multiple purposes.

▲ iPhone 14 digital basic model with sandwich structure

The unchanged appearance design, coupled with the gradually simplified assembly process in the iPhone 14, may also increase the profit margin of the basic iPhone, which means that there may be more reasonable pricing, and there may be iPhones made in India.

Abandoned Lightning, but it is difficult to get rid of MFi

It is the USB-C interface that dominates the rivers and lakes, not the transmission rate and high-power fast charging.

Even after USB 4 came out, the USB-IF association set some limits to avoid fragmentation and confusion for consumers.

However, the effect is not so significant. Based on the general USB-C form, different devices have different private protocols.

In terms of fast charging, almost every Android manufacturer has its own fast charging protocol, and the support for PD universal fast charging is only about 18W.

When it comes to the iPhone, there will actually be a similar option. You can transplant the limitations of Lightning to USB-C and make a set of fruit-style privatization.

It's just that this set is based on the USB-C, a seemingly unified but actually chaotic standard.

The Twitter user @Unknownz21 who exposed the real machine picture said that Apple is planning to replace the E75 controller in the original Lightning cable with the new E85 port controller.

This move almost confirms that Apple intends to move the MFi certification system to the USB-C form.

Only MFi-certified USB-C cables can unlock features such as transmission and fast charging. Otherwise, it will be similar to the previous third-party Lightning cable, unable to transmit data, and can only be blessed and safe.

Even if Apple completely copies the MFi system, it may be difficult to reproduce the value brought by Lightning, a completely closed system. After all, the form of USB-C is universal and open.

To be precise, MFi based on USB-C is more like a semi-closed system. How much control Apple wants to have is actually still in the hands of the iOS system. A few lines of code can completely block unauthenticated cables, or Let go.

▲ iPhone 15 Pro series renderings

On the other hand, the iPhone 15 Pro has a USB-C interface with greater potential, coupled with titanium alloy material, new design style, and narrower screen frame, which will give professional users a stronger motivation to change phones .

In addition, the rumored higher-end iPhone Ultra also has a reason to hit a higher unit price.

By using the higher, better and faster specifications of the Pro series to attract more users, the unit price of the iPhone is intentionally raised, and the profit margin is also gradually increased invisibly.

When sales and profit margins are difficult to maintain, it is clear that increasing profit margins has gradually become Apple's business choice.

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