(Bloomberg) — Apple Inc. is testing future iPhone models that replace the current Lightning charging port with the more prevalent USB-C connector, according to people with knowledge of the situation, a move that could help the company conform with looming European regulations.
In addition to testing models with a USB-C port in recent months, Apple is working on an adapter that would let future iPhones work with accessories designed for the current Lightning connector, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
If the company proceeds with the change, it wouldn’t occur until 2023 at the earliest. Apple is planning to retain the Lightning connector for this year’s new models.
By moving to USB-C, Apple would streamline the collection of chargers used by its various devices. Most of the company’s iPads and Macs already rely on USB-C rather than Lightning. That means that Apple customers can’t use a single charger for their iPhone, iPads and Macs — an odd setup given Apple’s penchant for simplicity. Wireless chargers for both the iPhone and Apple Watch also use a USB-C connector for their power bricks.
Apple, based in Cupertino, California, declined to comment on the change.
The move, which analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also predicted, would come with trade-offs — and potentially create confusion for customers. USB-C chargers are slightly larger than the Lightning connector, but can offer quicker charging speeds and data transfers. The new connectors also would be compatible with many existing chargers for non-Apple devices, like Android phones and tablets.
But the majority of Apple accessories — including AirPods, the Apple TV remote, the MagSafe battery pack and the MagSafe Duo charger — still use Lightning. The USB-C adapter in development could mitigate that issue, but it’s unclear if Apple would include that in the box or make customers pay extra for it.
There’s also a wide range of third-party accessories, such as chargers, car adapters and external microphones, that use the existing connector. A switch would force third-party providers to redesign their products.
Read more: Apple’s confusing strategy for its chargers
And the shift would lessen Apple’s control over the iPhone accessories marketplace. Apple forces accessory makers to pay it to use the Lightning connector and partake in a stringent approval process. USB-C is a standard used by many consumer device makers, including most Android phone manufacturers, making it less likely that Apple will be able to exert its usual level of control.
In recent years, Apple also has worked on iPhones without any charging port, seeking to promote the MagSafe wireless charging system introduced in 2020. But a wireless connection is often slower at charging a phone’s battery and doesn’t sync data with other devices as quickly. It’s also not practical in all situations, such as the setup in some cars.
A key reason for making the change is the European Union’s decision to force phone and other device makers to adopt USB-C. In April, legislation for such a requirement was approved by a majority vote.
“Mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld video-game consoles and portable speakers, rechargeable via a wired cable, would have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of the manufacturer,” according to the legislation.
Apple has said the European law would hurt its ability to innovate. “We are concerned that regulation mandating just one type of connector for all devices on the market will harm European consumers by slowing down the introduction of beneficial innovations in charging standards, including those related to safety and energy efficiency,” the company said last year.
Apple could conceivably release a version of the iPhone for Europe that is compliant while keeping Lightning elsewhere. But having multiple versions of the same iPhone with different connectors would probably bring even more confusion, as well as supply-chain headaches.
It’s unclear if Apple might ultimately abandon the USB-C switch if the European law fails to materialize. Many consumers have been calling for the change regardless, for the sake of simplicity.
A move to USB-C would be the second port change in the iPhone’s history. Starting with the original iPhone in 2007 through the iPhone 4s in 2011, Apple used the 30-pin iPod connector popularized years earlier. With the iPhone 5, Apple switched to the smaller Lightning port, touting its more durable design that could be inserted into the iPhone in either direction.
That switch drew some complaints, but customers embraced the change fairly quickly. At the time, Apple sold a separate adapter for old accessories. It cost $29.
According to a source, iPhone 14 development is behind schedule owing to Chinese lockdowns
At least one iPhone 14 model is three weeks late
According to a fresh rumor today, the development of at least one iPhone 14 model is three weeks behind schedule owing to Chinese lockdowns, which might damage initial production levels in the worst-case scenario.
According to reports, Apple has instructed suppliers to accelerate product development efforts in order to make up for a lost time before the delay impacts the regular manufacturing schedule, which might impair the initial production numbers of the iPhone 14 series.
By the end of June, all new iPhone models should have completed the EVT and moved on to the verification step.
As speculation grows regarding the characteristics of the next iPhone 14 models, such as an always-on display, a fresh source claims that the development of the line has been slowed by China’s coronavirus regulations.
All iPhone 14 versions are presently undergoing engineering verification testing (EVT), which involves Apple working with suppliers to optimize production processes and calculate manufacturing costs.
The unexpected lockdown shutdown of major Apple suppliers in Shanghai, as well as the effect on regional transportation, have caused the delay.
Apple is apparently working with its suppliers to expedite the process and get back on track.
The story seems to imply that, unlike the iPhone 12, the iPhone 14 will not be delayed and would instead come in the same September launch window as its current best iPhone, the iPhone 13.
Is the iPhone 14 going to be delayed?
According to this claim, it is doubtful that the iPhone 14 would be delayed.
The story does, however, raise the likelihood that one of the iPhone 14 versions may be substantially more difficult to get when it is introduced later this year.
The delay is claimed to be due to the internal development of the iPhone 14 series production process
. According to Nikkei, suppliers must adopt new manufacturing processes and adjust current production lines as part of a process known as New Product Introduction (NPI).
Last month, supposed real-world iPhone 14 display panels leaked online, revealing the suspected pill-shape and circular display cuts that would replace the conventional notch on this year’s new iPhone models to house the front-facing camera and Face ID technology.
In March, claimed iPhone 14 Pro 3D CAD renderings leaked, revealing the device’s reported redesigned pill-shape and circular display cutouts, which are likely to contain the iPhone’s Face ID components and front-facing camera module, eliminating the rectangular notch from the device’s display.
China’s restrictions stymie iPhone 14 development — Mobile World Live
According to the news agency, Apple’s iPhone 14 is being created by contract manufacturers Foxconn and Pegatron, with full production expected to begin in late August.
Nikkei Asia reported that engineering verification tests must be finished by the end of June in order to fulfill the manufacturing timetable and that one of the four iPhone 14 variants is three weeks behind schedule.
Due to the limitations, Pegatron paused manufacturing in its Shanghai and Kunshan plants earlier this year, while Foxconn halted operations at its Shenzhen factory.
Apple officials warned last month that supply concerns in China might affect sales by much to $8 billion in the current fiscal quarter.
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MODENA: Maserati‘s turnaround plan aims to liberate the Stellantis luxury brand from being a “slave to volumes” which has weighed on quality, its CEO Davide Grasso said on Wednesday, unveiling a convertible version of its MC20 sportscar.
Maserati, which returned to operating profit last year, delivered 24,200 cars in 2021 – 7,300 units more than in 2020. That still leaves it far from 2017’s peak, when it sold 51,500 cars.
“That was a success in terms of numbers, not necessarily for customers,” Grasso said, adding defect rates at Maserati were at that time higher than the average in luxury and premium markets.
“You enter a vicious circle of unsold cars and bigger and bigger discounts,” he said. “We were not good enough with quality, new powertrains, infotainment”.
Grasso said Maserati’s performance would keep improving this year and in 2023 in terms of market share, products, revenues and margins.
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The brand has recently unveiled its new Grecale SUV, which will be available in a full-electric (BEV) version in 2023. Next year Maserati will also introduce new versions of its Gran Turismo and Gran Cabrio models, and plans to make all its range electrified by 2025.
Chief Commercial Officer Bernard Loire said sales could potentially top 30,000 units this year though it was not a target.
“It’s a projection based on our current performance,” he said.
Loire said China, Maserati’s second largest market after the United States, was being hit by an ongoing lockdown, but feedback from initial orders for Grecale were very positive.
“We see a much better second half,” he added.
He said Grecale would allow Maserati to compete in a segment, worth around 40% of the luxury market, where the brand has not been present so far.
With deliveries expected to start in the first quarter of 2023, the new retractable hardtop MC20 Cielo – ‘Sky’ in Italian – will contribute to Maserati’s sales only in 2023.
Fitted with a six-cylinder, three litre, 630 horsepower engine, for a top speed of over 320 km per hour, it will cost 260,000 euros ($277,000), 30,000 euros more than its coupe sister MC20. That’s higher than entry level models of Ferrari and Aston Martin.
Combined capacity for MC20 and MC20 Cielo, both produced in Modena, northern Italy, amount to about 1,400 units a year, with flexibility to adapt output between the two models.
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