There’s a lot of speculation and hatred towards Apple’s new lightning connection which they’ll be using on new devices from now on, a decade after they introduced their 30-pin connector.
MicroUSB has now become the standard it seems across most phones and tablets, especially Android devices. Having a standard connection obviously has huge benefits because it means there are more chargers around and more accessories will fit a broader range of devices. It has also become the standard in the EU for phones and tablets to at least utilize MicroUSB – this doesn’t mean that the actual port in the device has to be MicroUSB, but that you should be able to use MicroUSB connections with them. Apple are providing Lightning to MicroUSB for EU buyers of the device so they comply with this law.
Now on to why Lightning is better than MicroUSB. There are quite a few reasons why it is. The Lightning connection has 8 different signal strips, MicroUSB only has 5. This means that the Lightning port can do a lot more, like provide more power and be able to control devices (control docks and other accessories). It can also fit both ways which is very useful. MicroUSB can’t do any of this – so it’s already falling behind a little.
For companies to use the Lightning connection in accessories they need to acquire a license from Apple – this means that the quality of third-party peripherals will be a lot higher. It’ll also provide protection from third-party peripherals which might damage your iDevice. But then there is the problem of it being a very closed system – something which Apple are criticised for a lot.