Apple has reportedly created a new USB-C authenticator chip that would allow it to control how cables and accessories work with the iPhone 15.
Apple is now roughly expected to ditch Lightning and start using the USB-C connector when the iPhone 15 lineup rolls around later in 2023. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the company will be using the same open standard as everyone else.
With Apple effectively being forced to use USB-C by the EU’s requirement for all phones to use a common connector, the company stood to actually lose money as a result. The Lightning connector includes a chip that companies must pay to license if they want their accessories to work properly with the millions of iPhones sold each year. Now, a new report claims that Apple has a similar chip in the works for when it moves the iPhone 15 to USB-C.
MacRumors reports that a Weibo user claiming to be an expert in integrated circuits believes that Apple has created a new chip that would do the same for USB-C connections that the previous one did for Lightning – ensure secure authentication with authentic cables.
The new chip would theoretically allow iPhones to identify when they are plugged into authentic USB-C cables and prevent non-authentic ones from working, just as it does now. Apple says it does so to ensure that fake and unsafe accessories aren’t used, but the less charitable suggest it’s a money grab by the iPhone maker.
If this report is accurate we can expect Apple to license the chip to accessory makers around the globe, taking a cut of sales as it goes. It’s also possible that Apple could limit charging speeds for some cables as well. That’s a particularly interesting thought with the move to USB-C being one reason some are hopeful that faster charging could come to the iPhone lineup this year.
We’ll have to wait a while for Apple to confirm what its plans are, though. If everything follows its usual cadence we can expect Apple to announce the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro lineup in or around September, complete with that USB-C port it fought so hard to avoid using.