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Monday, December 4, 2023

Rumors of Lightning’s demise are simply barely exaggerated

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This week, Apple confirmed longstanding rumors that it was lastly abandoning the Lightning connector for USB-C with the debut of its iPhone 15 and 15 Professional telephones. The connector’s decade-long run could be over, however that doesn’t imply it’s good to toss out all of your Lightning cables — not but, anyway.

There are nonetheless various merchandise in Apple’s huge catalog that haven’t made the change, and it’s a protected wager that a lot of them are due for USB-C refreshes within the close to future. Right here’s a listing of all the pieces nonetheless utilizing Lightning that we may discover new on the corporate’s on-line retailer.

The Magic Keyboard with Contact ID.
Picture: Wes Davis / The Verge

The standalone Magic Keyboard has been roughly the identical since its launch in 2015, and immediately, the skinny, chiclet-style keyboard is on the market in 4 variations. They’re a little bit costly, starting from $99 to $199. The 2 latest, launched alongside the 2021 M1 iMac, have Contact ID — one with a numpad and one with out — whereas the opposite two lack the fingerprint sensor. However crucially, all of them cost through a Lightning port on their again facet. That would change quickly if Apple launches an M3-powered iMac this 12 months. We’ll see.

A inclined Magic Mouse.
Picture: Wes Davis / The Verge

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The $99 Magic Mouse switched from replaceable batteries to rechargeable built-in lithium-ion when the Magic Keyboard got here out in 2015. Infamously, Apple made the perplexing resolution to stick the Lightning port on its belly, and that has never changed, forcing customers to attend or use a special mouse whereas they flip it over like a helpless turtle to cost it. Just like the Magic Keyboard, it’s attainable the Magic Mouse may see a redesign quickly that comes with USB-C. Hopefully, Apple will lastly put the port elsewhere.

A Magic Trackpad awaiting a USB-C improve.
Picture: The Verge

Additionally updated about eight years ago, the Magic Trackpad gives Mac and iPad customers a big, glass-topped trackpad. It makes use of sensors as a substitute of a mechanical button for clicking, helps multitouch gestures, and is a genuinely fantastic trackpad. It’s additionally not low-cost at $149 on Apple’s web site. Not like the Magic Mouse, its Lightning port is mercifully positioned within the again, however just like the Magic Mouse, a brand new iMac could be the best time to alter that to USB-C port as a substitute.

AirPods (second generation)

The second-generation AirPods, maybe the final of their type.
Picture by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Apple’s second stab at the basic AirPods gave customers higher wi-fi connectivity, the power to summon Siri with their voice, and wi-fi charging (for an additional 40 bucks). Additionally they began with and proceed to have a Lightning port. Apple added USB-C to the AirPods Pro this week, however whether or not it’ll do the identical for the long-in-the-stalk 2019 AirPods is up within the air, seeing as they’ve already been outmoded by one other era of the earbuds.

AirPods (third generation)

The AirPods third-generation.
Picture by Chris Welch / The Verge

Getting headphones to sit down proper in everybody’s ears is tough, and Apple appeared to acknowledge that with a 3rd wi-fi earbud type think about 2021. The third-gen AirPods have a few of the cooler options of the AirPods Professional, and also you don’t shove them into your ear canals. They’re priced between the opposite two fashions at $169 or $179, relying on whether or not you need MagSafe (although you’ll be able to virtually at all times discover offers on them). Now the AirPods Professional have two huge benefits on them: noise cancellation and a USB-C port.

AirPods Max of their pure setting.
Picture: Wes Davis / The Verge

That the lavish and pricey AirPods Max headphones use a Lightning port for charging is ok, however that they require it for wired audio is frustrating. Apple’s luxurious cans sound improbable, however Bluetooth simply isn’t that dependable for a lot of Macs in my expertise. It’s rumored they’ll switch to USB-C next year; hopefully, that comes with some important enhancements (like a 3.5mm audio jack) as a result of they sure could use it — that $549 price ticket ain’t doing them any favors lately.

Apple Pencil (first generation)

This charging technique is smart, proper?
Picture by Dan Seifert / The Verge

There’s one thing deeply charming about the truth that as a substitute of a Lightning port, the primary Apple Pencil has a Lightning connector that juts out of its head like a dumb hat. You may nonetheless purchase the primary Apple Pencil from the Apple Retailer — the truth is, Apple type of has to maintain promoting it, for the reason that 10th-generation iPad doesn’t help the second-gen Apple Pencil. Meaning this one most likely isn’t getting a USB-C refresh; it’ll probably simply stick round till Apple goes totally wi-fi with the Pencil.

iPhone SE (third generation)

Actually I don’t keep in mind if it is a second-generation or third-generation iPhone SE, however you get the concept.
Picture by Wes Davis / The Verge

Apple’s least expensive smartphone, the $429 iPhone SE, is an honest deal. For the reason that iPhone 13 Mini was finally, tragically, discontinued yesterday, the SE stays the one actually small cellphone within the firm’s lineup. It nonetheless makes use of Lightning and different throwback Apple options, like Contact ID, a single 12MP rear digital camera, non-MagSafe wi-fi charging, and an LCD display screen. However its A15 Bionic chip is highly effective and only one GPU core shy of the chip within the iPhone 14. A brand new iPhone SE isn’t anticipated until 2025, so it might be a minute till this Lightning port disappears.

An iPhone 14.
Picture by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

For now, the corporate nonetheless sells the 6.1-inch iPhone 13, which is almost identical to the iPhone 14. Each have the A15 Bionic chip, the identical cameras, the identical display screen decision, and Lightning ports. There are minor variations, just like the 14’s satellite SOS feature, however for probably the most half, you wanted a great cause to improve for those who already had an iPhone 13. Realistically, you’d be hard-pressed to purchase the 14 now, provided that the iPhone 13 is $100 much less at $599. These Lightning ports appear prone to stick round till the 2 telephones slide out of Apple’s lineup over the subsequent two years.

A ninth-generation iPad in all its glory.
Picture: Apple

Consider it or not, you’ll be able to nonetheless purchase Apple’s ninth-generation iPad. It’s $329; it makes use of an A13 Bionic chip; it has a Contact ID house button; and it has a ten.2-inch LCD show. Oh, and it has a Lightning port. However you understand what? For lots of people, that’s wonderful. Heck, I nonetheless use my seventh-gen iPad. It could be a little bit clunky, nevertheless it’s light-weight and works wonderful for studying recipes or scrolling information. I’d be shocked if this one ever will get the USB-C remedy.

Honorable point out: Equipment

I don’t suppose we have to provide the rundown on every of those, so right here’s a listing of all of the Apple equipment we discovered that also use Lightning in a technique or one other.

Is there one other obscure Lightning product or accent Apple sells someplace within the bowels of its website? Be happy to tell us within the feedback.

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