When you don’t even know you want it, Apple can make you believe you need it!
Apple is great at many things – and at the top of that list must be marketing.
As the summer of 2023 has its last hurrah us tech lovers are bracing ourselves for the onslaught that is Tech-tember & Tech-tober.
Two of the biggest hitters out there are readying themselves to launch their latest flagship phones – Google and the Pixel Pro 8 and of course Apple with their iPhone 15.
The funny thing is though, particularly with Apple even if you don’t know you want a new phone, their slick presentations, gorgeous ad campaigns and carefully crafted events will lure you into thinking you do.
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All about the detail
This time next week we will be hours away from Apple’s annual fall event where the iPhone 15 will be the star of the show.
But, unless the rumour mill has lost its way, there really isn’t that much new on the 2023 model lineup to shout about. A new titanium frame, a new Action button and a new periscope telephoto lens are some of the ‘highlights’ and I’m sure you’d agree they are not too riveting, are they? Oh, and how could I forget – the big one…USB-C is finally making its way to iPhone – although not out of choice.
This is where the detailed and carefully scripted pre-recorded event will begin to flex and convince you it was their intention to put USB-C on iPhone all along.
In truth, we know that Tim and co were planning to eventually offer portless devices but were forced into the change by those lovely chaps over in EU land. But I bet you by the end of next Tuesday’s event we’ll believe that USB-C has been added because we wanted it, they listened and they wanted their loyal customers to have the best experience.
For most this move would seem like a massive embarrassment and a huge U-turn but not in Apple-speak. Nope, they’ll press home all the benefits that we already knew having a USB-C connector would bring – including faster charging, and improved data transfer speeds. There’ll be no negativity, no apology and certainly no mention of the pesky EU, that’s for sure!
A change for good
For once, legislation has won out and we are the winners.
While we can now use one generic cable to charge for all our devices, this isn’t such good news for Apple. For starters, this one seemingly simple change will cost them a fortune.
The R&D costs and new machine costs are only part of the ‘L’ that they’ll have to take over this switch. More tellingly, as I mentioned, USB-C is a standard generic cable that you can buy anywhere. Lightning on the other hand is a proprietary Apple-only cable. For any other third-party retailer wanting to sell a car charger, phone charger or speaker dock with an official lightning cable included, Apple makes handsomely out of it thanks to their MFi (Made For iPhone) program.
Companies had to jump hoops, with months of lengthy, costly form-filling to get Apple’s seal of approval, and better yet, this deal meant that every cable that was ever sold under that licence also earned Apple money in perpetuity. It’s not a one-time, upfront fee – oh no! Those guys at Cupertino are no fools and sure know how to make money hand over fist!
Time to come clean
Again, during the polished event next week, I’d wager there’ll be no mention of the resistance that Apple put up during the months and years they fought the EU over their USB-C proposals.
Don’t forget, it was Apple and their legal team that stated this change would be a bad move for E-waste. They opined that hundreds of thousands of perfectly fit lightning cables would end up being tossed away because of this proposal – which I don’t buy into.
It’s not as if every iPhone, pair of AirPods or Magic Keyboard is going to vanish overnight now, is it? Sadly, the old, slow lightning cable will still be on many desks for many years to come.
Greg Joswiack actually argued that governments shouldn’t get involved in telling tech companies how to develop their products. While I am no lover of men in suits bellowing from a glass house how they see fit for us to live our lives, in instances like these I think they had every right to intervene. The EU could see what Apple’s game was and had had enough of their shenanigans!
There is one other elephant in the room though in regards to Apple being less than enthusiastic over the switch to USB-C – that cable also fits and charges Android devices! This is potentially bad news for Apple as their loyal iPhone users will now have a cable that could help them unlock the door to the other side…
Apple will have done all it can to make this a positive move and the most loyal Apple fans will hear no other take on it.
But we forget that not everyone is like us.
We slavishly follow all the latest Apple & tech news so we know this change is coming. But just spare a thought for the average Joe out there. They’ll pick up their iPhone 15 in a few weeks, get in the car and suddenly find the port has changed as they go to charge their new phone. Most people really don’t get as hung up on this as us!
As if to prove my point – last week someone I know pretty well put up on Facebook that he just found out that your mouse can drag over from his Mac to his iPad – seriously, he’d only just found out about Universal Control. Most ’normal’ people will be blissfully unaware that their new phone will require different cables, charging bricks or adapters.
There could be a messy few months ahead for Apple. It will interesting how Apple bats that one away! Will it be a case of what only a few weeks before Apple had heralded as a brilliant user-friendly switch all of a sudden will be the fault of those naughty politicians?
If anyone can have their cake and eat it – Apple can! While you may be sitting there thinking that iPhone 15 has nothing for you, by about 7.30pm on 12th September you may be thinking a very different story!
Then you’ll know that Apple will have spun their magic in more ways than one – just be aware – you’ve been warned!
I’m now writing regularly on Substack too – informal stories about things that randomly cross my mind. You can follow me here.