- By Daniel Thomas
- Business Correspondent
After being forced by the European Union, Apple has confirmed that its new iPhone will not have its proprietary Lightning charging port.
The tech giant said the iPhone 15, unveiled at its annual event on Tuesday, will use a USB-C cable as a “globally accepted standard”.
New Apple Watch series released with more advanced chip
But Apple’s lack of “headline-grabbing” updates this year will disappoint some, one analyst said.
“Given the maturity of the iPhone and Watch this is not surprising,” said Ben Wood from CCS Insight.
“It reflects how refined the iPhone and Watch devices have become, and how difficult it is to deliver truly disruptive updates every year.”
Apple has released a USB-C-to-Lightning port adapter for £29 ($36). Lightning port accessories that people have developed over the years connect to its new USB-C-enabled iPhones or iPads.
The latest iPhone, which goes on sale next week, is the first since 2012 to feature an alternate charging port.
The company said the USB-C cable — which already works with many Apple laptops and iPads — will also work with new versions of its AirPods Pro earphones and wired EarPods headphones.
The European Union told the tech giant to ditch its proprietary charging ports to make consumers’ lives easier, save money and reduce e-waste by encouraging the reuse of chargers.
However, some warn that the move could lead to an increase in abandoned cables in the coming years.
Perhaps in response, Apple used its launch event on Tuesday to make a series of environmental pledges about its new devices, including making the new Apple Watch range carbon neutral for the first time.
It will also increase the amount of recycled materials used in the batteries and other parts of the new watch and iPhone.
The company confirmed that it will no longer use leather in any of its accessories and has pledged to become carbon neutral as a business by 2030.
Apple boss Tim Cook said the new iPhone 15 range includes “the best and most capable iPhones we’ve ever made”.
- The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus offer brighter screens and improved camera systems, while the higher-end iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max now come with a titanium frame, which improves its strength.
- The Pro and Max have an “action button” instead of a mute switch that can be customized for different functions.
- The new Apple Watch will feature gesture control – wearers can answer or end a call by tapping two fingers together on the same hand as the device.
But some experts question whether consumers are willing to pay higher price tags for devices that aren’t vastly different from their predecessors.
How much is the new iPhone?
The iPhone 15 starts at £799 and the iPhone 15 Pro starts at £999 in the UK.
“Convincing users to use these new devices during a cost-of-living crisis will not be easy,” said Paolo Pescatore, researcher and founder of PP Foresight. “Some will see new features as incremental, [although] Together they improve the overall experience, which is invaluable to Apple’s core user base.”
Apple’s shares fell slightly on Tuesday, failing to reverse a sharp decline last week, fueled by news that the Chinese government had banned officials from using iPhones.
Huawei’s release of a new smartphone series in China has investors worried.
The global smartphone market fell to 268 million in the second quarter of 2023 from 294.5 million total phones shipped.
But Apple’s shipments were the slowest of any major smartphone maker, falling to 45.3 million from 46.5 million phones, according to analysts Counterpoint Research.