I want an iPhone with USB-C. Now there are signs Apple does, too


CNET 16 September, 2021 - 01:58pm 53 views

When is the Apple Event September 2021?

Apple's "California Streaming" event will be a virtual media event held on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, where the company is expected to unveil the iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7, and possibly third-generation AirPods. Mac RumorsSeptember 2021 Apple Event on MacRumors

A USB-C port replaces the older Lightning port on the 2021 iPad Mini.

I like my iPhone, but I'd love it if it had USB-C. So I was cheered this week to see an indication that it might someday.

I wasn't surprised when Apple introduced the iPhone 13 on Tuesday with the same old Lightning port the company has used since 2012. Lightning is fine. But it isn't USB-C.

Here's what I like about USB-C. It's versatile, an industry standard that spans more and more of the electronics world. It transfers data at up to 20 gigabits per second and is jumping to 40Gbps with the new USB 4 data transfer protocol just now arriving. It charges phones, tablets, PCs and anything else that needs up to 100 watts of power, with a 240W upgrade that'll be great for gaming laptops. And there's a growing ecosystem of USB-C accessories, including hubs, docking stations, keyboards, flash drives and memory card readers.

Apple has more or less stuck with Lightning, a proprietary product, for its mobile devices, though its top-end iPad Pro got USB-C in 2018 and the midrange iPad Air got the technology in 2020. (MacBooks debuted USB-C in 2015, a move that prompted some grumbling because it did away with the beloved MagSafe connector.)

Now Apple is providing hints that USB-C could spread. At its event this week, the iPad Mini got a USB-C port, making the device more powerful and flexible. It'll be harder to switch iPhones to USB-C because so many phones and Lightning chargers are already in use, but it increasingly looks like Apple is preparing its formidably large customer base and product ecosystem to make the leap.

Picking apart Apple product announcements is a bit like Cold War Kremlinology: spycraft that attempted to figure out what the Soviet Union was up to by assessing which Russian officials were in or out of favor. The introduction of USB-C to some new devices doesn't necessarily mean Apple is softening the ground for a major change to its most important product line. 

Still, I think USB-C is in the iPhone's future. A wholesale transition, while no doubt a big pain, ultimately will be good for you, the iPhone and the planet. You'll get less electronic junk, the iPhone will get more utility and landfills won't be littered with as many cables that only work with a fraction of devices.

Apple didn't comment for this story.

Almost every other corner of the tech world has moved to USB-C for data and charging. Android phones settled on USB-C ports years ago, and it's a fixture in Windows PCs. The price premium for USB-C accessories is easing, too.

I use USB-C for external drives, earbuds, headphones, flash card readers, two laptop docking stations, a Nintendo Switch and its Joy-Cons, iPads, Android phones, hardware security keys, the family's Macs, a Microsoft Surface Laptop and a Google Pixel Slate. I have USB-C chargers in two cars and four rooms in my house. On the road, I use portable batteries with USB-C ports.

The pesky Lightning cable I need for my iPhone is increasingly out of place. Lightning was a fine replacement for the iPhone's older and bulky 30-pin connector, but now USB-C is a much better alternative.

Apple sees the benefits, too. Katie MacDonald, an iPad product manager, said Tuesday that the iPad Mini's USB-C connector is 10 times faster than Lightning and can "connect to a vast ecosystem of USB-C accessories." That's great for everyone from amateur photographers to medical personnel scanning patients with Butterfly portable ultrasound scanners.

If you're filling your $1,599 iPhone 13 Pro Max's 1TB of storage with high-end ProRes video, you might appreciate a faster technology than Lightning to transfer your data. And if Apple signs up cinematographer Greig Fraser for another iPhone endorsement, he won't have to use that awkward Lightning dongle on a USB-C iPhone.

An iPad Mini's USB-C connection lets it connect directly to a camera.

With millions of iPhones in use, dumping Lightning connectors won't be easy. Customers have invested in chargers and cables in homes, offices and cars. Lightning  is also used in AirPods charging cases and wired Apple earbuds, too.

Moving to USB-C means that Lightning gear has to be replaced. I'm old enough to remember the howls of displeasure when Apple dumped its 30-pin connector, and Lightning today is vastly better established than the old connector was in 2012.

Lightning also has kept iPhones above the fray for some of USB-C's growing pains. It can be hard to tell if a particular cable can handle USB's full power and top data transfer speeds. Some of those issues remain, but USB's advantages outweigh them.

A transition, should one come, would force iPhone loyalists to buy a lot of new cables, a prospect no one is likely to relish. In the long run, though, it'll be worthwhile. Now or soon, you'll likely use USB-C to charge other devices, so switching ultimately reduces your life's electronic clutter. It will also reduce e-waste because you'd need fewer cables to cover most of your devices. You can always donate your old cables to those who still need them.

iPhones could go straight from Lightning connectors to no connectors at all. Connectors pierce holes in a phone's chassis that weaken it, expose it to the elements and increase manufacturing costs.

Wireless charging and data transfer techniques are getting better. With Apple's iCloud, you don't need to back up and sync your iPhone with a cable plugged into your laptop anymore. The best way to get music from your phone to better speakers is with Bluetooth, not a phone docking station.

Charging and data ports, however, will maintain their utility. Nothing beats a cheap copper cable when it comes to fast, private, reliable data transfer. When you have only a few minutes to spare in the airport or car, rapid charging will boost your battery better than any charging pad.

When it's time to plug that cable into my phone, I vote for USB-C.

Read full article at CNET

36 of the Best New iOS 15 Features for iPhone

Lifehacker 15 September, 2021 - 08:30am

For example, you can set up a Work Focus mode to only allow notifications from apps like Slack and Gmail, as well as alerts from business colleagues. Then, that profile can switch over to a Personal mode, which blocks all notifications from work apps and work-specific contacts. That’s far from it, though; the feature is totally customizable, so you can fine-tune Focus to keep your notifications under control.

If the text has a phone number or an address, you can also take advantage of that. Live Text will let you dial phone numbers you scan and can give you directions to addresses with Apple Maps. Of course, Apple is a bit late to the party with this type of feature, but this is a prime example of better late than never.

The caveat is that you can’t translate text in photos, and doesn’t work in apps and games with non-selectable text, unlike other options like Google Translate.

Thankfully, Apple lets you bring the URL bar back where it was, in case you, like me, couldn’t stomach the changes. To be fair, I see where Apple was going with this. Bringing the URL bar to the bottom makes it easier to access with one hand, and allows you to switch tabs just as you switch apps. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work for many of us.

You can even tell Photos to stop including people in your Memories, great for avoiding any awkward or painful Memories from photos deep in the past. That scratches the surface with Memories; it’s really an overall improved experience from iOS 14.

Enter Account Recovery Contacts. This new feature in iOS 15 allows you designate one or multiple contacts to be the “key” to your account, should you lose access. They don’t have access to any of your data, but they can simply send you a code should you request it, and that code can help you get back into your account.

With iOS 15, your AirPods Pro and AirPods Max can update their location to the Find My network, so long as they’re in range of another Find My device. That’s not quite as good as if they could connect to the internet themselves, but it’ll likely give you a much more accurate reading than it used to.

If you choose that option, Apple will allow you to install iOS 14 security updates instead. That way, you can keep your iPhone on the version of iOS you prefer without having to sacrifice your security to do so.

You can watch a movie or TV show with all of your video call members; listen to the same song at the same time; share your screen so that everyone can see what’s going on; and more. You can even add songs to a shared music queue, so everyone has input on what to listen to next.

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