Could Apple go with Lightening instead of USB-C?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Junichi, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. Junichi, Dec 2, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016

    Junichi macrumors member

    Nov 14, 2016
    United States
    Just a thought.
    The new USB-C port is so versatile but Lightening has been always versatile too. There are a lot of adopters that turn the Lightening port into HDMI, USB, and so on. Apple has been using Lightening for years already, and it's very popular now. There are Lightening storages, batteries, cameras, etc.
    When Apple unveiled the MacBook, I thought maybe Apple had decided to go with USB-C to replace Lightening, but it turns out Apple still uses Lightening for their new products like their keyboards, trackpad, and AirPods.
    If they don't completely switch to USB-C, the benefit of having a USB-C port on the MacBook is limited. You still need to have different cables and dongles.
    If the only port was Lightening instead of USB-C, you could have a universal charger for all of your Apple devices, charge your Appel Pencil with your MacBook, use the Lightening EarPods with your MacBook, etc.
    Plus, the Lightening connector is better designed, I think. It is little smaller than the USB-C connector, and much easier to plug in and out.
    What's your thought?
  2. flyinmac macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2006
    United States
    The problem is that Lightning ports will never be installed on pc's. So that will limit available accessories like hard drives, etc.

    Lightning is a proprietary Apple design that Apple charges licensing fees from anyone who produces accessories that are compatible.

    There is no way the industry will ever adopt it as a standard. It will always be limited to devices specifically made for Apple products.

    Devices meant to work with all brands of hardware will never adopt the lightning port.
  3. Junichi thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 14, 2016
    United States
    You can have a lightening to USB adopter so it's the same for USB-C, isn't it?
    There will be a lot of USB-C peripherals that you don't need an adopter for, but there are already a lot of lightening peripherals too.
    As long as third party companies continue to sell lightening peripherals as they always have, and as long as there are adopters available, whether it is an industry standard should not matter to users.
    Or does it matter?
  4. Trixs macrumors regular

    Mar 26, 2008
    I don't think you would be able to charge the new macbooks with lightening.

    And yes of course it matters if there are maybe 20x more usb c accessories than lightening..
  5. Canadia69 macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2016
    i think they should put USB-C on iPhones and iPad instead
  6. flyinmac macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2006
    United States
    Not going to happen anytime soon. They want to sell iPhones and iPads to everyone. If they made them with USB C only, then they would cut sales by probably 99%.

    They must consider that their market is:

    (a) some people don't have a computer, so wired interface is irrelevant.

    (b) most people who have a computer, use older model computers that don't have USB C connections.

    (c) few people will buy a computer based on their preferred phone's connection method, most will buy a phone that works with computers they already have instead.

    (d) their phone and iPad market is much larger if they sell to people who have Windows machines, as that is the largest market. So they cannot maintain their sales volume if they require customers to have the latest Mac model.
  7. Frederik on MacRumors macrumors member

    Frederik on MacRumors

    Oct 7, 2015
    I think you got the argument wrong, or fail to recognise what USB C is. (no offence, I just want to clarify for those who read this thread). USB C is the future for the whole industry. It will be the only necessary port on mobile devices. A lot of devices are already equipped with USB C. Smartphones, notebooks, and tablets.

    Anyway, I can't believe that the port on a smartphone has any crucial effects on sales at all. There may be some who buy their phones on the basis of internals/hardware, but USB C would certainly be added value in that case...

    BUT: Apple costumers (including me) would have to with switch accessories again. It might not be a big problem for me, but other bought speakers for $1k. Those costumers might not like a change of port...

    This is really the only valid argument. Apple is going wireless and the only reason for a wired connection is charging. If rumours are true, this may be irrelevant within a year as well...

    Doesn't matter... You could just use a A -> C cable...

    True, but as said before: there are several ways to connect a USB C device to a USB A port... Moreover, new computers are shipped with USB C ports. USB C is the near future of connecting anything to a computer...

    This is the reason I assume you failed to recognise the impact of USB C. USB C is a universal standard that will be "the standard" within a short time. Besides fast transfer rates because of USB 3.1 (which would be possible with USB A as well), USB C allows significant faster charging (it is designed with that in mind). Furthermore, it can be put in the port both ways (this might be the main benefit the average costumer recognises...)
  8. flyinmac, Dec 5, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016

    flyinmac macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2006
    United States
    Yes, if the computer has USB C ports, you can adapt older devices to plug into said port with and adapter.

    However, I have not observed any evidence to this point that proves that a device which is wired only for USB C will work flawlessly when plugged into a computer with USB 2 as it's most current interface.

    The phone isn't the USB hub, the majority of the USB communication is dependent on the logic and circuits inside the computer.

    If something has changed, let me know. But last time I checked, plugging a USB 3.0 drive into a USB 1.1 port didn't suddenly mean that the computer supported USB 3.0 technology.

    Now if Apple is going to implement a USB C phone that downgrades its communication to USB 2.0 or 1.1 as needed, then that could possibly work. Good luck convincing Apple that they should adapt to the minority's computers, and require everyone to buy an iPhone to USB 2 adapter if they buy an iPhone.

    The backlash would be pretty significant.
  9. Ma2k5 macrumors 65816


    Dec 21, 2012
    Why would a lightning cable to a USB 2 be any better than USB-C to USB 2 (regarding your comment about working flawlessly). USB 3.1 is backwards-compatible with older versions of USB (the only thing incompatible is the adapter itself, for obvious reasons, but that is the case with lightning anyway).

    Anyway, I agree that it should all go to USB-C, to have uniformity across all Apple products and it is the de-facto standard for future. Apple used Lightning all these years and got away with it because no one was really adopting a standard (USB-C). Now that other phone manufacters and computer makes are adopting it, and so have Apple recently in both the MacBook and MacBook Pro range, the iPhone/iPad should follow suit.

    The 3 challenges that they face in doing this is:
    1) Loss of revenue
    2) Redundancy of all lightning accessories, which now will need an adapter
    3) If there is some different circuitry or otherwise needed and takes up more space to implement, which could affect design

    The pro's outweigh the cons imo, it's a win for the consumer in the long run.
  10. Junichi, Dec 5, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016

    Junichi thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 14, 2016
    United States
    It would be great if Apple completely goes USB-C. You can live with a single cable for all your devices. But Apple doesn't seem doing it in the near future. That's why I thought of the other extreme.
    As long as you go with Apple devices, industry standard doesn't really affect your life. Plus, given the huge market share Apple holds and their influence, it's not likely that Apple devices and people who use Apple products will be alienated. Even after USB-C becomes the de facto standard, third party companies will probably continue selling Lightening accessories, and if Apple forced Mac users to use Lightening, the Lightening accessory market would become even bigger.
    After all, Lightening has never been an industry standard, and the rest of the market has been using USB for Android devices and other peripherals such as Bluetooth earbuds, but iPhone and iPad users have been happy about it.

    By the way, I'm charging my 12" MacBook with the 12W iPad charger. It doesn't sound reasonable to think Lightening can't charge a MacBook.

    P.S. If you think cable connections are only for charging because data can be transferred wirelessly, Lightening should be a better alternative than USB-C because it's much easier to plug in and out.
  11. anon08 macrumors member


    Oct 5, 2016
    They should either of changed the iPhone to USB C or put a lightning port on MacBook and MacBook Pro. Now we're bound to dongles not just in the transition from USB A to USB C (not a big deal), but also permanently as long as the iPhone and other accessories use lightning ports.
  12. boltjames macrumors 601


    May 2, 2010
    Lightning can't handle the power requirements of large notebooks and the USB community doesn't want to pay royalties on MFi licenses so it's never going to happen.

    Apple controls its ecosystem around iOS with Lightning, Apple joins the rest of the notebook and peripheral world with USB-C. Apple is the industry leader in mobile devices, Apple is a small player in personal computers.

  13. toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    Good Lord, no. Just move everything to USB-C and be done with it already!

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