Apple Changes Everything (Again)

Michael Calore: Was Tuesday’s Apple event everything you ever wanted?

Lauren Goode: In what way?

Michael Calore: USB-C. You finally got a USB-C iPhone.

Lauren Goode: It’s a low bar when your life is that affected by a charging standard. But yes, life has already changed and I can tell you how. And that was not even the most interesting part of Tuesday’s Apple event.

Michael Calore: I cannot wait to hear more.

Lauren Goode: I bet you can’t, Mr. Pixel.

Michael Calore: Whatever. Let’s do it.

Lauren Goode: Let’s do it.

[Gadget Lab intro theme music plays]

Michael Calore: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Gadget Lab. I am Michael Calore. I’m a senior editor at WIRED.

Lauren Goode: And I’m Lauren Goode. I’m a senior writer at WIRED.

Michael Calore: We’re also joined this week by WIRED reviews editors Adrienne So, sitting over here right next to me—

Adrienne So: Hey, guys.

Michael Calore: —and Julian Chokkattu, sitting over here on the other side.

Julian Chokkattu: Hello, hello.

Lauren Goode: Yes. Things have already gone off the rails in studio here. We just have to let you all know, but you’re not going to hear that part of the podcast.

Michael Calore: That’s right. That’s right. We’ve been chatting, testing the microphones, testing the microphones.

Lauren Goode: Testing the mics, telling people what we had for breakfast.

Michael Calore: Well, we are all here in the studio together because this week the three of you went down to Cupertino, California, for Apple’s big September event as it is done every year for more than a decade. Apple announced new iPhones. There were also new Apple watches and some new software features to go along with the new products. And as we’ve talked about on the show before, a lot of these updates can feel kind of samey with iterative feature enhancements coming out every year.

Lauren Goode: Samey.

Michael Calore: Samey, samey.

Lauren Goode: I like that word. Next time I put that in a WIRED article, I expect you will not edit it out.

Michael Calore: Oh, never, never. It’s my favorite neologism. But we should start today’s discussion with the one big change that Apple made to its phone lineup that is not samey. Apple has ditched the iPhone’s Lightning port and replaced it with a USB-C port. Julian, I want to start with you. Tell us why did Apple do this to us?

Julian Chokkattu: So USB-C, Apple has been adding it to its devices. It was one of the first companies to add USB-C to a MacBook back in 2015. And it has slowly been adding that port to its other devices like iPads, except the last holdout has been the iPhone. Last year the European Union ruled that all phones, tablets and cameras by the end of 2024 are required to have a USB-C port. So that kind of Apple had a decision to make. Do we just not sell phones in the European Union? Do we just change the port in the European Union and use Lightning everywhere else? But of course I think this change was going to come at some point eventually. So this is the year that it’s happening, but also they probably were going to do it at some point anyway. It’s worth noting that they collect licensing fees and make a lot of money from all the other companies that make Lightning accessories. So this was just an opportunity that they were probably pushing away as far as possible so they can collect as much as possible. And now it’s changing. And so now we have a USB-C port which means that you can use the same cable you have for your MacBook, your iPad, your Android phone if you weirdly also have an Android phone and a MacBook and an iPad. But other devices—

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