Apple has confirmed the introduction of the USB-C port to the new iPhone 15, as the tech giant moves towards EU rules on cable standardisation.
Unveiling the new smartphone range on Tuesday evening, the company said that as well as bringing the port to the iPhone 15 range, it would also introduce the USB-C connector to new versions of its AirPods Pro earphones and its wired EarPods headphones.
New EU rules approved last year will require all small and medium-sized electronics to use a standard charging cable – USB-C – by the end of 2024 to cut the number of cables users need for their devices to help save consumers money and reduce e-waste in the long term.
However, some experts have raised concerns over the number of obsolete cables being created in the short term by the change as Apple moves away from its proprietary Lightning connector.
In response, Apple used the iPhone launch to announce a number of major environmental measures, including making the new Apple Watch range carbon neutral for the first time and increasing the amount of recycled materials being used in batteries and other parts of the new Watch and iPhone.
As part of the environmental announcements, the company also confirmed it would no longer use leather in any of its accessories.
The tech giant pledged to become carbon neutral across its entire business by 2030.
Lisa Jackson, Apple vice president for environment, said the company’s aim was to “make products customers love and protect the planet at the same time”, and that the next step was “getting the carbon footprint of all our products down to zero”.
On the product and environmental announcements, Apple boss Tim Cook said it was a “huge day” for the firm, and called the new iPhone 15 range the “best and most capable iPhones we’ve ever made”.
The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus have been given brighter screens and improved camera systems, while the high-end iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max now come with a Titanium frame for the first time as well as their own range of improved photo and video features – including better zoom capabilities.
Industry expert Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight, said: “Where Apple goes, others tend to follow so it will be interesting to see whether we see other phone makers moving to titanium casings for their flagship phones in 2024. It certainly looks nice on the new iPhone 15 Pro and being lighter and stronger is an advantage.
“It’s good to see 5x optical zoom on the iPhone Pro Max. This definitely narrows the gap on Samsung’s Galaxy S Ultra devices which have had 10x optical zoom for several years. The camera is one of the most important features for consumers on smartphones so this is a positive step.”
Mr Wood added that the move to the USB-C connector on the iPhone was a “success story” for EU regulators, but said it was a “victory for common sense”.