The iPhone 15 is expected to come with a USB-C port, just like current iPads and MacBooks. But it appears that for the iPhone, Apple is thinking different. According to a new report via MacRumors (opens in new tab), Apple won't let you connect any old USB-C cable to your expensive iPhone. It'll need to be an Apple-approved one with an Apple authentication chip.
According to a post on Chinese social network Weibo by someone who claims to be an integrated circuit expert, Apple is developing its own flavour of USB-C. Much like it did with early Lightning connectors, they say, Apple is using little authenticator chips to ensure that only approved, Made for iPhone-certified connections are used.
The upside? Less risk from poor quality or counterfeit cables for you, and extra income for Apple via Made for iPhone licensing fees. The downside? USB-C becomes a lot less useful.
I can't vouch for the reliability or otherwise of MacRumors' source. But the rumour does seem credible.
Will Apple have a slow lane for some iPhone 15 buyers?
We've previously been told that there will be two kinds of USB-C for the iPhone 15 depending on how much money you spend.
The most expensive iPhones this year will go into the fast lane, with full-speed data transmission; those of us who opt for the cheaper versions will be limited to the same speeds as USB 2.0.
This is something Apple already does in the current iPads: the 10th generation iPad with USB-C is limited to 480Mbps while the iPad Pro has the same connector but supports 40Gbps.
I understand the rationale for doing this, but I really don't like it: deliberately taking an industry standard and engineering it to make it bad seems like a very user-hostile thing to do in the name of upselling. The costs of authentication won't be absorbed by suppliers: they'll be passed on to us.