Apple Maintains Lightning Ports on Accessories Despite New M3 iMacs and USB-C Trend
In a world where USB-C has become the standard for connectivity, Apple’s recent product launch has left consumers with a notable port-related conundrum. The unveiling of the new M3-powered iMacs at Apple’s “Scary Fast” event showcased impressive upgrades, but a curious omission caught the attention of many: Apple’s Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard, and Magic Trackpad still feature Lightning ports. In an era dominated by USB-C technology, this lingering Lightning port raises questions.
The absence of an update to these crucial accessories might not be entirely surprising to keen observers of Apple’s strategies. Apple CEO Tim Cook has been compared to a masterful supply-chain-and-logistics expert, always having a stockpile of existing products and designs to maximize their value for the company and consumers. This approach often benefits customers, offering older design models of iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches with solid performance at more budget-friendly prices.
However, this strategy has led to an inconvenient situation for users: these Apple accessories still rely on the Lightning port for charging, a technology that has largely been phased out in favor of USB-C. The main issue here isn’t the Lightning port itself but rather that the rest of the tech world has moved on to embrace USB-C, including Apple. Over eight years ago, the company introduced the Magic Mouse 2, which charges from the bottom using Lightning, but in the same year, it launched the 12-inch MacBook, featuring a solitary USB-C port. In the current tech landscape, USB-C is the standard connector across Apple’s newest Macs, iPhones, and iPads, rendering these “Magic” Mac accessories somewhat outdated and incompatible with other devices.
The iPhone 15’s adoption of USB-C in September underscored a sense of finality in the transition. Simultaneously, Apple discontinued Lightning accessories like the MagSafe Battery Pack and the MagSafe Duo and shifted the AirPods Pro to USB-C. It’s anticipated that this change will extend to the entire Apple headphone lineup. Additionally, there is now a USB-C Apple Pencil available.
Traditionally, Apple updates these accessories when launching a new iMac, a logical choice considering they are bundled with the computer. The absence of an update to USB-C connectors for these accessories means that new iMac owners are left with a somewhat inconvenient situation, necessitating the use of two types of cables: Lightning for their keyboard and mouse (or trackpad) and USB-C for all other devices.
Unfortunately, if Apple adheres to its current two-and-some-change-year update cycle for all-in-ones, it could be a while before consumers have another opportunity for an upgrade to USB-C. Unless, of course, a 32-inch iMac miraculously descends from Mount Cupertino.