Last week an eye-opening report claimed that Apple will split its iPhone 15 release in two with standard models continuing to use the Lightning port and Pro models moving to USB-C. Now a new iPad leak has made this twist seem even more likely.
In an exclusive report, 9toMac has revealed Apple’s next entry-level iPad will pack an A14 Bionic chipset, support for 5G and — yes — that it will drop Lightning in favor of a USB-C port. And this indicates a decisive shift.
If correct, the leak would mark a major first: the first time Apple has released a consumer-focused mobile device with USB-C. The iPad Pro made the transition to USB-C back in 2018, but Apple justified the move by saying the port was only needed by professionals.
Even today, Apple promotes USB-C on the iPad Pro for its compatibility with accessories such as DSLR cameras, external monitors, external storage, audio interfaces and MIDI devices ahead of the more obvious industry shift led by all rival tablets and smartphones.
Cleverly, Apple also used this same argument to justify why iPhones retain the Lightning port. Smartphones were not deemed to be primarily professional tools, even despite the branding of s0-called iPhone ‘Pro’ models. But following the entry-level iPad leak, this position no longer stands up.
Of course, the obvious question to ask at this point is: Why would Apple split the USB-C transition for iPhone 15 between Pro and non-Pro models?
The first reason is production practicality, Pro-only means Apple can avoid any lingering supply chain restrictions. The second reason is it only has to test the port on half the range — a critical factor if Apple continues its iPhone 14-led decision to ship standard and Pro models with different chipsets. The third reason is a result of the other two. If you’re limited to switching half the range to a future-proof standard, you start with the Pro models.
For Apple, change now seems inevitable. The EU agreement to force all mobile devices to use USB-C by the end of 2024 means Apple needs to act quickly, and there is pressure mounting for the US to follow suit.
All of which has a real impact on Apple fans in the here and now because if USB-C is coming, then despite some mouthwatering iPhone 14 upgrades, paying out record prices on a new iPhone in 2022 looks like a decision that will come back to bite you.
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