News & Analysis

New iPhone 15 releases without Lightning charger

14th September 2023
Kristian McCann

Apple's long awaited new handset the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max were announced this week with a notable absence of the lightning charger port. This came amid the company's annual keynote event, which saw a raft of new tech announced, including new watches and AirPods.

The announcement included specs regarding the new handset, such as camera upgrades including a more advanced 48MP main camera system, a slimmed-down display with Dynamic Island at the tip and a faster A17 chip. Available in the same 6.1 and 6.7-inch sizes as the iPhone 14 Pro models, the iPhone 15 Pro models have a similar design, stainless steel, but are using a frame made out of a new titanium alloy that's also used for spacecraft, with new titanium colours including white, black, natural, and blue. The iPhone 15 Pro models subsequently weigh less than the iPhone 14 Pro models.

But ironically, one of the biggest changes was not by Apple's own volition: the introduction of the USB‑C charging port. This comes after the tech titan finally conceded to EU legislation dictating that consumer charging devices must share a common charging cable to reduce e-waste.

USB‑C, which Apple now deemed the "universally accepted standard", offers a higher power delivery rate than Lightning chargers and delivers a faster charge under the same voltage. The handset, which goes on sale next week, is the first since 2012 to feature an alternative charging port.

Apple also introduced a new series of the Apple Watch, Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2.  The series 9 sees the most update from its predecessor which features a more advanced chip, a S9 system in package (SiP) with 60% more transistors than the outgoing S8 series chip. Subsequently, It has a 30% faster GPU and a new 4-core NPU, speeding up the OS with faster animations and a claimed battery life of 18 hours. The Ultra 2, although receiving less updates, will use the same S9 SiP and alongside a new UWB chip for improved location tracking. The1.92-inch LTPO OLED display will now cranks out up to 3,000 nits peak brightness.

The announcement on AirPods also saw an update to the charging port, with the AirPods Pro 2 changing to USB-C. Although the new port doesn't change the charging speeds for the case, it does now allow users to use their iPhone 15 to charge their AirPods case.

Apple pledged the new Apple Watch range will be carbon neutral for the first time, increasing the use of recycled materials in batteries and other components, and discontinuing the use of leather in accessories. The company also pledged to achieve carbon neutrality as a company by 2030.

Yet the lack of major updates to the new handset has left many observers disappointed, and mean its other announcements - like the AirPods and Watch updates - have fell by the wayside.

Equally, Apple's shares tumbled on Tuesday, failing to recover from a recent sharp drop after reports Chinese government officials were banning the using of iPhones. The smartphone market has received a sharp decline, particularly effecting China but also around the world, with shipments dropping from 294.5 million total phones to 268 million in the second quarter of 2023. Although Apple fared better than most major smartphone manufacturers, their shipments decreased from 46.5 million phones to 45.3 million.

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