End of Lightning Era

End of Lightning Era

iPad 10.9-inch (10th generation)

In a move that signals the end of an era, Apple has announced a price drop for the iPad 10, bringing the starting price down to $449. This significant reduction coincides with the discontinuation of the iPad 9, the last iPad model to retain the physical Home button and Lightning port. This marks the end of an era for the physical Home button and Lightning port in Apple’s iPads, embracing USB-C as the new standard connector across its entire iPad lineup. This transition, known as the Apple Lightning to USB-C transition, further highlights the end of the Lightning era.

Apple iPad 9th gen

While Apple has made the switch to USB-C for its iPads, the company still maintains a presence in the Lightning market, offering a range of older devices and accessories that utilize the Lightning port. Currently, consumers can still purchase certain older iPhone models, standard AirPods, AirPods Max, the first-generation Apple Pencil, and three Mac accessories with Lightning ports. These products include the iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14, iPhone 13, and iPhone SE, as well as the second and third-generation AirPods, AirPods Max, the first-generation Apple Pencil, Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse, and Magic Trackpad.

The Lightning port, first introduced on the iPhone 5 in 2012, has been a staple for many Apple devices over the past decade. However, with the growing popularity of USB-C and Apple’s continuous product line updates, the Lightning port is gradually fading into obsolescence, giving way to USB-C as the company’s preferred connection standard. Following the iPhone 15’s upgrade to USB-C last year, which does not require MFi certification, there were questions about the relevance of MFi certification in the future. According to public data, as of March 2024, there are 442 MFi-authorized manufacturers globally. These manufacturers produce not only data cables and chargers but also smart home devices, sports and health equipment, and audio products. In response to concerns about USB-C not needing MFi certification, Apple has stated that it still sells products with Lightning ports and that the accessory ecosystem remains important for both Apple and its users. Currently, there are approximately 1.5 billion active Lightning devices, representing a significant market. Apple recognizes the significance of this installed base. Additionally, statistics suggest that the ratio of Apple devices to accessories is around 1:7, implying that an Apple device may consume up to seven chargers and seven data cables during its lifespan.

USB C charger cable

While the iPhone 15’s USB-C adoption has undoubtedly impacted Apple’s MFi accessory business, the MFi ecosystem remains crucial for the company. Charging ports have been an integral part of mobile devices since their inception. However, with the increasing adoption and improved user experience of wireless charging, the future of mobile device charging ports may even lead to a no-charging-port design. This shift would offer cost savings, enhance aesthetics, and improve water and dust resistance.

Wireless charging is particularly important within the Apple ecosystem. The hardware of iPhone 12-15 devices supports higher-power wireless charging. It is possible that future versions of MagSafe might offer upgrades, and older iPhone models could achieve faster wireless charging speeds with software updates. Each update from Apple generally benefits the industry, presenting numerous new opportunities with the introduction of new technologies. In the future, MFi companies will likely focus their production on the existing market and the development of wireless charging products, reflecting the wireless charging future and Apple’s continuous innovation in this domain. Apple’s wireless charging technology and MagSafe upgrades will play pivotal roles in shaping the future of mobile device charging.

3 in 1 Wireless Charger

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