Published in Mobiles

Apple’s Lightning port is about making cash

by on28 September 2021

Tame Apple Press is now defending the indefensible 

The Tame Apple press has its knickers in a twist over the EU daring to tell its favourite phone company to replace the Lightning port with USB-C cables.

The EU wants to standardise cables so that there is less eWaste and people only need to own one recharger. Apple wants to continue to sting its customers for shedloads of money and you can see why the tech press is confused.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber said: “In 15 generations of iPhones, Apple has changed the connector once. And that one time was a clear win in every single regard. Changing from Lightning to USB-C is not so clearly an upgrade at all. Instead, it's a sidestep."

In doing so he revealed the weakness of the logic that the TAP uses to let Apple off. Basically, if it is good for Apple then it must be a good technology move.

In fact, Lightning ports have no significant technology advantage over USB-C other than the fact that they require punters to buy a “unique” Apple charger. The fact that Apple could change the port and no one would be any the wiser is telling.

As The Verge pointed out, the only thing that Apple would lose is the revenue from every Lightning cable and accessory that works with the iPhone, Apple-made or not -- along with the control it has over what kinds of hardware does (or doesn't) get to exist for the iPhone and which companies get to make them.

"Apple's MFi program means that if you want to plug anything into an iPhone, be it charger or adapter or accessory, you have to go through Apple. And Apple takes a cut of every one of those devices, too."

TAPs, including Gruber, want to insist that while Apple is happy to keep the money it earns from MFi, of course. And they're glad to have control over all iPhone peripherals. It is not what the company is all about. After all you are getting Apple’s “astonishingly high standards” and love.

True, Gruber admits that Apple’s Lightning cables are over priced but: “My theory is that Apple carefully weighs the pros and cons for each port on each device it makes, and chooses the technologies for those ports that it thinks makes for the best product for the most people.

“If the iPhones 13 had switched to USB-C, you know who would have complained? Hundreds of millions of existing iPhone users who have no interest in replacing the Lightning cables and docks they already own,” he moaned.

It will be a storm in a teacup. Apple will have to fit a common USB-C charging port, and users will be the winner. But what this issue shows is the amount of Stockholm Syndrome which exists in the so-called technology press and how far they are prepared to ignore the technology and environmental considerations in favour of Apple’s business model.

Last modified on 28 September 2021
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