Really nice history and summary!I’m amazed this thread had so much discussion over what was very properly described as “trivial noise” a page or two ago in the thread. The complaints are definitely not very understanding of the capabilities of cables at hand. It’s quite simple really: Apple gives you a charging cable in the box, whether you buy a non-Pro or Pro iPhone 15 model. They do this because charging cables are flexible and they are adequate for 99.999% of the population buying phones (including people who buy Pro phones, who are NOT Pro users (transferring videos/photos or other substantial data).
Charging cables come in 2 lengths from Apple, 1m and 2m. A few years ago, they sold the normal looking rubbery nylon (or whatever it is) cable that was USB-C to USB-C and 1m, and it was tested somewhere around 100W. Fine. They also sold a 2m cable that performed around the same specs (possibly more for maintaining the MBP 140W), but was twice as long. Also fine. 2-3 years ago, Apple updated the 1m to be braided, and folks tested that one to be capable of around 60W. I am not 100% sure when but I believe they did this when they started shipping laptops with MagSafe again, as they then maintained the higher wattage ratings via MagSafe and lowered the wattage rating the 1m USB-C charge cables were capable of by keeping them thin, but now a nice braided/woven design. So braided 1m = ~60W. The 2m continued to be the rubbery nylon cable that everybody knew and hated, and it still maintained the 100ish watt rating. Probably higher for the 140W Macs, I don’t know the specifics of that cable.
Recently (as of the announcement of the iPhone 15 lineup), they added a 2m braided USB-C to USB-C charge cable and discontinued the old rubber/nylon one. They branded it as 240W. No devices support that, but that’s what they’re calling it. It’s thick, probably to support that high wattage. No devices support that charge capacity, but that doesn’t mean something won’t in the future. Anyways, that’s what they did.
Thunderbolt cables (or any USB 3 cable really) are needed in order to support faster data transfer. This is something that really only a true Pro user (someone doing video transfers or similar) needs. Your average joe iPhone 15 pro user will never need one of these cables. As stated by others, they are considerably thicker (due to needing more wires internally for the USB 3 requirements), less flexible, cost more money to make, and just generally would be a headache to use day-in and day-out for the vast majority of users. The cost of the phone would be higher to reflect the inclusion of one of those cables as well. It just plain wouldn’t make sense.
The best way to go about all of this is that unless you truly need to be transferring videos to a computer or external storage, just use the cable that came with the phone. If you need more length, buy the 2m 240W chunky boy they just released, or buy something aftermarket. If you need more data transfer speed, then you are a Pro user and you need to pony up the big bucks for the heckin’ chonker of a TB4 cable that Apple sells for $69 @ 1m.
TL;DR - if you aren’t moving a ton of data to a computer or storage, your supplied cable is perfectly adequate unless you need more length. You still have the option to buy whatever you want but it is suggested that you learn the capabilities of what you want to buy before doing so, otherwise you might just buy yourself another USB 2 cable, as most charging cables are USB 2. Apple’s cables are not really overpriced.
The only bummer to me is the 1m cable now being 60W, so they can't be used to charge "just whatever is around, iPad or MacBook".
Thank you for typing all this down, must have taken a while!