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Apple Accidentally Exposes New iPhone Decision

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This year Apple AAPL -0.18% will change its iPhone line-up dramatically. There will be three new models in three new sizes and – perhaps most surprisingly – some major price cuts. And now even Apple is giving us clues about this…

The eagle-eyed 9to5Mac spotted Apple has suddenly slashed the price of its USB-C to Lighting Cable by almost 25%. In real terms, this is a drop from $25 to $19 and in strategic terms, it gives away a lot.

Apple is prepared to mass produce fast USB-C chargers for all new iPhones

Leaks have repeatedly told us that there are two ways Apple will cut the cost of iPhones for new users by over $200 (including tax). Firstly, with a $100 price cut, and secondly saving users $75 by including fast charging in the box. Yes, Apple has been charging $49 for an overpowered 29W charger (iPhones fast charge at a maximum of 18W) and $25 for a 1m USB-C to Lightning cable (the bundled slow charger is USB-A to Lightning).

And here’s where it gets interesting.

What price does Apple charge users for the bundled USB-A to Lightning cable if they want to buy it separately? Yes, $19. So Apple is aligning the price for fast charging cables with what it asks for the slow charging cables which currently ship with iPhones and iPads.

Furthermore, if you look closely, this isn’t technically a price reduction. Apple is actually shipping an all-new USB-C to Lightning cable as the part number has changed from MK0X2AM to MQGJ2AM.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out this will be the same cable Apple ships with its new iPhones, and the price cut was facilitated by the massive new economy of scale generated from Apple ordering millions to go with every next-generation iPhone and iPad. Where is that economy of scale missing? The 2m version, which remains priced at $35.

Leaked diagram of Apple’s bundled fast charger coming with new iPhones

But why would Apple make these moves so early and so publicly?

Because right now Apple is in a compatibility mess which it had to start solving the moment the ink was dry on the mass order of fast charging cables. As it stands, new MacBooks can’t charge and sync with iPhones and iPads out the box. MacBooks have moved exclusively to USB-C while iPhones and iPads ship with USB-A cables.

Apple is very conscious of this and, for a limited time, dropped the prices of all its USB-C accessories just to calm angry customers who dubbed this #donglegate.

But now the real solution is fast approaching and not only does it solve ‘donglegate’, but it gives iPhone and iPad fans what every rival smartphone and tablet maker has been providing for years: fast charging out the box.

Combine this with the additional planned price cuts, and the introduction of two crowd pleasers in the shape of a massive iPhone X Plus and ‘iPhone X mini’ and Apple could well have the sales ‘super cycle’ which never materialised with the original iPhone X. What’s more, given the expense these moves will cost Apple, it would be deserved…