My iPhone USB-C rage-o-meter prediction

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

In 2015, Apple released the MacBook, which could only be charged with USB-C.

In 2016, they released the MacBook Pro, which could only be charged with USB-C.

In 2018, they released the iPad Pro, which only charged with USB-C.

In 2020, they released an iPhone with MagSafe, making it easier to charge iPhones without a direct cable connection at all. They also converted to USB-C for the other end of the bundled Lightning cable.

In 2020, they did the iPad Air. The iPad mini followed just a few months later, as did the normal iPad in 2022.

Meanwhile in the industry, 2017 saw USB-C come to all Samsung phones (and all Android phones within a year or so), as well as the Nintendo Switch. Since then, basically every new mainstream consumer tech product with a battery has charged with USB-C. Oh, and all of the top-selling MagSafe iPhone chargers use USB-C.

It’s rumored that the iPhones announced in 3 days will use USB-C as well.

Does any of this mean that the iPhone switching to USB-C will go down without a single complaint? No, of course not. There are still people who will still tell you the only reason Apple moved on from the 30-pin connector was because they wanted to screw people over. The question isn’t whether some people will be mad, it will instead be a question of whether a wide swath of the iPhone-buying population becomes actively upset about this.

We can all state our guesses for what we think will happen, but we won’t really know for a few weeks or months.

For my part, I’m predicting that this change will go over much better than the previous switch way back in 2011. For one, Lightning was something brand new and exclusive to Apple. You did have to buy new cables and accessories when you got that phone. By contrast, I would wager nearly every person who buys an iPhone 15 will already have at least one other product that uses USB-C. Additionally, we don’t have the same sorts of iPhone accessories that we used to in 2011 where the male end of the port was literally a part of the product (think speaker docks), whereas today most phone accessories are wireless or operate with a bring-your-own-cable policy.

I also think people will see the benefits more when they’re with friends and family or traveling. Literally in just the past week I’ve been in situations where we have not been able to share portable and wall chargers because the person who had the charger was using a Samsung phone and the other person was using an iPhone. It will take time for people to experience these themselves, but I do think that better compatibility among groups of people hanging out will be a big win as well. Again, that was not a benefit that ever presented itself with the switch to Lightning.

But yes, some folks will still be upset, and I’m sure the publications and pundits that have already decided that the masses will be upset will elevate these voices immediately. Again, the question is really how prominent the complaints are, and we won’t know that for a little while.