Amid the anticipated announcement of the new iPhone 15, a big question at the 2023 Apple Event surrounds its charging ports.
Apple is expected to unveil its range of iPhone 15 smartphones at its Apple Event on Tuesday - with one of the big questions around charging ports.
Many will be on the lookout for the latest shiny products, apps and features the technology giant likes to show off as it attempts to drum up sales at its annual event.
However, the European Union has mandated that Apple’s products sold within the bloc must have a universal charging port, bringing to an end the company’s long tradition of having its own charging ports.
There will be plenty of intrigue around the rumoured iPhone 15 announcement, alongside potential announcements of other tech upgrades such as with its Apple Smartwatch.
Apple is expected to reveal the iPhone 15 as the star of the event, but as with other smartphone makers, it’s not likely to be a major technological leap forward from its current generation of phones.
The iPhone 15 models are likely to range from lower-priced basic models to more expensive premium versions, consisting of mostly incremental advances to the devices’ chips, battery and cameras.
The basic iPhone 15 models also may be redesigned to include a shape-shifting cutout on the display screen that Apple calls its Dynamic Island for app notifications.
Dynamic Island was introduced with last year's Pro and Pro Max devices.
There are rumours that this year’s iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max may feature a periscope-style telephoto lens that will improve the quality of photos taken from distance.
The telephoto lens could boast a 6x optical zoom, which would still lag behind the 10x optical zoom on Samsung's premium Galaxy S22 Ultra, but would be a significant upgrade from the 3x optical zoom on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.
The improved camera is one of the reasons Apple is also expected to raise the prices of the Pro and Pro Max.
The iPhone 14 Pro starts at $1,000 (€932) while the Pro Max starts at $1,100 (€1,026).
Analysts think the iPhone 15 versions of those models may cost an additional $100 (€93) to $200 (€186), testing how much consumers are willing to pay for the devices at a time when post-pandemic inflation has been squeezing household budgets.
Universal charging ports
Away from the flashy side of the tech, a more basic question will be resolved - will Apple roll out universal charging for all its products, rather than just those for the EU market?
The bloc has mandated that by the end of 2024, all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the bloc will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C charging port.
Apple is therefore being forced to start phasing out the Lightning port cables it rolled out in 2012 with the release of the iPhone 5, but it’s unclear whether the company will initially limit the switchover to USB-C ports to models made specifically for the European market or make the change worldwide.
"According to rumours, Apple will adopt USB-C this year rather than wait until next year to comply with European regulations," said Techsponential's Avi Greengart.
"This will annoy a lot of Apple users… but they'll get used to it, they won't have a choice," he continued.
Two years ago, when the EU’s text was under discussion, Apple tried to oppose it, arguing that its Lightning technology was used in over a billion devices worldwide, and that the new regulations would "stifle innovation" and "harm consumers".
For the EU, the aim is to simplify life and reduce the amount of electronic waste created as chargers become obsolete.
Difficult quarter for the tech giant
The event on Tuesday at Apple's Cupertino California headquarters comes on the back of a slight slump, which has seen its sales drop from last year in three consecutive quarters.
Management at the company have signalled another downturn is likely during the current quarter. Apple’s stock price has dipped by nearly 10 per cent since mid-July, putting the company’s market value below the $3 trillion (€2.8 trillion) threshold it reached for the first time earlier this summer.
Apple will be hoping that taking the wraps off its new range of phones will drum up the type of enthusiasm Apple Events have successfully garnered many times before.