We’ve known for some time that Apple will switch to USB-C for future iPhones, but we don’t know for sure if that change will happen in time for the iPhone 15. Now, however, a trusted source has said that it will, and that this switch will also at higher data rates, at least for some models.
According to Ming Chi Kuo (opens in a new tab) — an analyst with a good track record for Apple Information — the entire iPhone 15 lineup will have a USB-C port instead of a Lightning port. However, Kuo says that only the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will take advantage of USB-C’s extra speed potential.
These two phones will reportedly support USB-C 3.2 data transfer speeds, which can reach up to 20Gbps, or Thunderbolt 3 speeds, which can go up to 40Gbps.
The standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Max, however, will apparently be locked to USB 2.0 speeds of just 480Mbps, which is the same as Lightning. So if Kuo is correct, one of the main benefits of moving to USB-C will be reserved for the more expensive Pro models.
As always with leaks, we’d take it with a pinch of salt, but speed aside, a move to USB-C seems likely. The EU has required Apple to make the change by 2024, and Apple itself has confirmed it intends to comply. So it’s just a matter of timing, but it seems Apple doesn’t make much sense to delay and Kuo is a credible source.
Different data rates are something we’re less sure about, but it would make sense as another way to differentiate high-end iPhones from low-end models, and Apple has taken a similar approach with its various iPad lines.
Analysis: Pro-level speed for Pro devices
Increasing your data transfer rate from 480Mbps to 20Gbps or 40Gbps might seem like overkill, and for many people it will be. But these vastly higher speeds would be extremely useful for some users in special cases.
A key example is 4K video. Current iPhones are capable of shooting in 4K, but the file sizes produced by 4K footage can mean that it takes a long, long time to transfer the footage from your phone to your computer or other device.
If you’re a mobile filmmaker who captures a lot of footage, the problem gets even bigger. Of course, not all of them will, but there are many other large file types you may want to transfer, and whatever you’re transferring, that extra speed will get you done much faster.
For more typical users, however, USB 2.0’s slower speeds should still be adequate, so this upgrade won’t necessarily be a reason to shell out for one of the best iPhones.