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Tech Matters: Apple changing iPhone charging port again. What else?

By Leslie Meredith - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Sep 6, 2023

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Leslie Meredith

Apple has released the date for its annual fall event when it unveils its new iPhone and other products. Mark your calendar for next Tuesday, starting at 11 a.m. MT. You can watch it live online at apple.com or on the Apple TV app. The theme for the event is “Wonderlust,” which we’ll leave up to your own interpretation.

The company is expected to introduce the iPhone 15, and while there may be some surprises — hence the wonder — the tech world has already published quite a bit about what it expects from this phone. The biggest change will be the replacement of the Lightning port with a USB-C port.

You may remember when Apple made the move from its 30-pin Dock connector (a mainstay of the iPhone for a decade) to the Lightning port, an Apple-only connection and a new cable type. That was at the iPhone 5 event in 2012. Despite technical advantages, many customers were upset.

The port was smaller, more durable and you could plug the cable into the phone either way, so no more flipping it over when your phone didn’t start charging. However, any accessories that used the old pin connector no longer worked with the new model. That meant new docking stations, whether simple stand-up models or pricier Dock speaker systems, had to be replaced, new charging cables and new phone cases that fit the new port configuration.

Those with a long enough memory are sure to feel a sense of déjà vu when Apple once again changes its charging port to a USB-C port. But the change shouldn’t be too bad this time. USB-C connections are found on many devices, including all Android phones, many laptops, the Nintendo Switch and newer Xbox Series X/S controllers, external hard drivers, cameras, headphones, power banks, printers and more. You likely already have a cable and charging device that will be compatible with the new iPhone, which is more convenient for you, especially when traveling, and better for the environment because you won’t have to buy different types of cables.

If you own other Apple products, such as an iPad, Apple Watch or MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, these already charge with a USB-C connection. And if you use a MagSafe charger or other compatible charging mat, it will still work with the new iPhone.

What else can we expect from the new iPhone 15? We’ll likely see the same lineup: the iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman maintains the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus will be a repackaged iPhone 14 Pro without the telephoto camera or stainless steel body. The Pro models will gain a 120-hertz ProMotion display for video, a possible new action button to do things like trigger the camera shutter in place of the mute switch, an A17 Bionic chip and a titanium frame. Only the 15 Pro Max will get the 6x periscope zoom camera — double the current lens — which should make a big improvement to the optical zoom with greater detail and dynamic range. Of course, we won’t know for sure until Apple makes its big reveal.

We may have to brace ourselves for a price increase if rumors from multiple sources are true. While the lower-end models — iPhone 15 and 15 Plus — are expected to be priced the same as the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus of last year (starting at $799 and $899 for 128 gigabytes of storage and going up from there for additional storage), the Pro models are expected to start around $100 higher than last year. Further, it is thought that Apple may offer double the storage on these high-end models, from 1 terabyte to 2 TB, which would put the iPhone 15 Pro Max with 2TB at an eye-watering $1,799. Most phone plans make it easy to upgrade with a no-interest payment plan, but you should still understand what you’re spending. Is this the year for a new iPhone? Probably not unless your phone is older than an iPhone X.

Leslie Meredith has been writing about technology for more than a decade. As a mom of four, value, usefulness and online safety take priority. Have a question? Email Leslie at asklesliemeredith@gmail.com.


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