Apple Unveils iPhone 15, Which Eliminates Lightning Port

After 11 years, Apple is bidding adieu to the Lightning connector on its flagship iPhones.

The company announced the iPhone 15 at its annual fall product launch event, held Tuesday at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. The new models will feature USB-C charging ports, scrapping the company’s proprietary Lightning connector, which was first introduced in 2012.

More from Variety

The new standard models are the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 (starting at $799) and the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus ($899 and up), both which feature a ceramic shield for added durability. The devices feature a 48-megapixel main camera, providing a new 24-megapixel super-high-resolution default, and are available in five colors: pink, yellow, green, blue and black.

Apple execs touted the benefits of using the industry-standard USB-C, including higher data-transfer speeds and the fact that you now can use the same cable to charge iPhones, iPads and MacBooks. The iPhone 15 supports 4K at 60 fps HDR video output using a USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter to allow users to connect to an HDMI display, while also connecting a standard USB device and a USB-C charging cable.

But one of the main reasons behind the tech giant’s change is a new European Union law adopted last year mandating that all smartphones sold in the EU must include a USB-C interface for charging by the end of 2024. Of course, the iPhone 15s also will support wireless charging standards.

Apple’s latest MacBooks and iPads also include USB-C charging ports. And the third-generation Apple TV 4K streaming device, launched in the fall of 2022, also dropped Lightning in favor of USB-C for charging (while the accompanying Siri Remote also now uses USB-C).

As with the iPhone 14, the 15 models feature a pill-shaped cutout that display Apple’s Dynamic Island, an animated notification feature that adapts in real-time to pop-up alerts.

Alongside the standard models, Apple introduced the iPhone 15 Pro (starting at $999 with 128 GB of storage) and iPhone 15 Pro Max (starting at $1,199 with 256 GB). Both feature a titanium design with new contoured edges, a new customizable action button, camera upgrades and the A17 Pro chip for higher-performance mobile gaming. The iPhone 15 Pro models can capture spatial video that can be viewed on the forthcoming Vision Pro AR/VR headset, due out in early 2024 and priced at $3,500, according to Apple.

Pre-orders for all iPhone 15 models begin Friday, Sept. 15, with products available starting Friday, Sept. 22.

Starting with the release of the iPhone 12 in 2020, Apple no longer includes a power adapter in the box. With the iPhone 15s, Apple includes a 1-meter USB-C-to-USB-C cable, while a 20W USB-C power adapter is sold separately for $19. In addition, Apple sells a USB-C-to-Lightning adapter for $29. According to the company, iPhone 15 users can also AirPods or Apple Watch directly from iPhone with the USB-C connector.

The company also Tuesday introduced the second-generation AirPods Pro ($249) with USB-C charging instead of a Lightning port, plus additional dust resistance, and lossless audio support for the Vision Pro headset. At the start of the presentation, CEO Tim Cook briefly called out Apple Vision Pro and said it’s on track to ship in early 2024.

In addition, the company announced the Apple Watch Series 9, priced starting at $399. New features in the Series 9 include “double-tap” (letting you control an app’s primary button using just your forefinger and thumb on your watch hand), on-device Siri functionality, a more advanced iPhone-location capability and a brighter display. Apple Watch Series 9 is the company’s first “carbon-neutral” product, the company said. The models run watchOS 10, which delivers redesigned apps, new watch faces, new cycling and hiking features, and tools to support mental health.

Apple’s “Wonderlust” product event featured a cameo by Octavia Spencer as “Mother Nature” — grilling execs about the company’s environmental sustainability goals. In the video segment, Cook tells Mother Nature that Apple has set a goal for all of its products to be carbon-neutral by 2030; after a pause, she says, “OK, good — see ya next year,” adding as she exits, “Don’t disappoint your mother.” Spencer stars in of Apple TV+ drama series “Truth Be Told,” which ran for three seasons.

Watch the bit with Spencer:

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.