Apple Embraces USB-C, But Concerns Lurk Beneath the Surface
Apple, long resistant to the European Union’s push for a common phone charger, is finally poised to make the switch to USB-C later this year. According to Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, this transition, expected to be unveiled at the September 12 event, will be presented with enthusiasm, emphasizing the benefits for consumers. However, lurking beneath this seemingly positive move are a few causes for concern within the company.
Apple USB-C Transition Concerns
One of the immediate consequences will be the loss of revenue generated from MFi (Made for iPhone/iPad) licenses. Additionally, Apple executives are reportedly anxious about a potential backlash from fans, reminiscent of the reaction when the company introduced the Lightning port and removed the widely-used 30-pin connector.
Beyond these issues, they are apprehensive that adopting USB-C could lead to an unintended consequence: increased compatibility with accessories designed for Android phones. This could potentially entice Apple users to explore the Android ecosystem further. For instance, Apple could enhance iOS-to-Android messaging by adding RCS support, reducing the need for users to stay exclusively within the iOS ecosystem. This concern is compounded by memories of when they initially promised to make FaceTime open source.
Apple plans to include USB-C cables with the new iPhones, but it’s important to note that the company stopped bundling chargers with the iPhone 12, leaving users with older USB-A power bricks in the lurch. If you own an iPhone 11 and a set of AirPods, you might not have a USB-C charger handy for your new phone. To address this, they should consider offering ample Lightning to USB-C adapters for users who want to continue using their existing accessories.
In another development, Gurman reports that Cupertino is exploring the use of metal 3D printing to accelerate the manufacturing of device enclosures. This method is not only faster but also more sustainable, as it minimizes material wastage. Currently, Apple’s enclosures are milled from solid blocks of metal, which results in substantial waste.
The forthcoming Apple Watch Series 9 is expected to be the first product to feature 3D-printed enclosures, likely crafted from stainless steel. If successful, Apple may transition to titanium for the Watch Ultra next year. The shift to 3D printed parts could also pave the way for Apple to use this technology in larger devices such as iPhones and iPads in the future.
On the tablet front, Apple is reportedly developing a premium Magic Keyboard for iPads, featuring a larger trackpad and an aluminum top case, akin to MacBook keyboards.
Pokdepinion: To me, this is a huge sign that they will eventually implement MFi for USB-C sometime in the future. I hope it doesn’t, but the chances of it happening is quite likely.