This week has seen three iPhone 15 cable rumors, which serve to underline the mess around USB-C cables in general. While that’s not a mess of Apple’s making, it is one the company could and should solve for its own customers.
The first of the three rumors appeared to be good news. It suggested that the charging cable included in the iPhone 15 box might be longer than usual and perhaps also more durable…
Longer and more robust iPhone 15 cable
Additionally, it would use a new variation on the braided design with a tougher woven outer layer, seemingly intended to better protect the cable from wear and tear.
So far, so good.
But might be as slow as Lightning
One of the benefits of this year’s switch to USB-C is that the more modern port can support both faster charging rates and much faster data transfer.
Lightning ports are limited to 480Mbps, while Thunderbolt 3 or 4 over USB-C is capable of up to 40Gbps.
Of course, the whole mess around using one physical port format (USB-C) to cover multiple protocols means that the speed we actually get depends on the chip inside the iPhone 15’s port. However, an earlier leak did appear to show that it’s equipped with a Thunderbolt chip.
There is, though, a catch. Thunderbolt speeds require not just a compatible USB-C port but also a compatible USB-C cable. And one report earlier this week suggests that the cable supplied by Apple in the iPhone 15 box won’t support Thunderbolt.
Indeed, said the report, it will be limited to USB 2.0 speeds – which is the same paltry 480Mbps we get with Lightning today.
Seemingly backed by report of optional cable
This report appears to have been backed by another @KosutamiSan tweet today, which shows what is described as a separate cable that supports USB 4 Version 2, which supports transfer speeds of up to 80Gbps – the fastest speed supported by any USB-C port or cable to date.
It would also support charging of up to 150W, though it’s, of course, exceedingly unlikely that the iPhone itself could handle that.
This cable, they say, would be “sold separately.”
Data transferring cable for iPhone 15 Pro – which sold separately. Up to 150W Charge, features USB4 Gen2.
(On charging, the original tweet said 120W, but KosutamiSan later added that it should have said 150W.)
This is a mess Apple could and should solve
Something as simple as buying a USB-C cable can be a nightmare for consumers, and that’s something Apple could eliminate by supplying a fully-capable cable in the box – one that supports both the maximum data transfer rate offered by the iPhone 15 (whatever that may turn out to be) and the maximum charging speed likewise.
Sure, the average iPhone owner will never do a cable data transfer, and sure, cables these days are not just dumb lengths of wire and include surprisingly sophisticated chips. But Lightning cables were sophisticated things, too, and Apple supplied those. At iPhone production volumes, the cost differences are low enough that Apple could afford to apply its famous Just Works philosophy and ensure that the cable we get in the box does exactly that.
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