Will the iPhone 15 have a different grip on its base? Is this the end of the Lightning connector?
It looks like there is a big change coming to the iPhone next year. If you had asked me the question last year, I would have said that it would never happen. Literally never.
But the claim comes from one of Apple’s most respected watchers, Ming-Chi Kuo of TFI Securities. So it must be true, right? Well, maybe.
Kuo claims, in a pair of tweets earlier today, that “My latest survey indicates that 2:23 the new iPhone will drop the Lightning port and switch to USB-C port.”
In other words, the iPhone due to arrive in the second half of 2023, the one everyone is calling the iPhone 15, will change one of the only things about the iPhone that hasn’t been changed since the release of the iPhone 5 in 2012: the Lightning connector.
Kuo says it will be replaced by USB-C, the connector used on almost all Android phones, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad mini and Mac laptops.
For those who don’t follow these things closely, that might not seem like much, but here’s why.
Apple has stuck strictly to Lightning connectors for its iPhones and has made it clear that it doesn’t think the switch to USB-C is a good idea. Indeed, when the European Union said it would insist that electronic devices all use the same connector, i.e. USB-C, to reduce e-waste, Apple countered with force, explaining that this would reduce innovation.
It’s true that the Lightning connector is thinner than USB-C, which gives Apple more design flexibility. Also, since many households have Lightning cables and chargers, throwing them away to switch to USB-C would create more waste, it was argued.
Apple was expected to stick with Lightning technology for as long as possible, before moving to a portless iPhone that would charge wirelessly, for example.
Ming-Chi Kuo has come to the conclusion that USB-C is coming to the iPhone thanks to his latest supply chain survey. He saw a shift in focus away from Lightning, it seems, with vendors saying they expect USB-C orders to increase.
Kuo points out that switching to USB-C has benefits, such as better data transfer and charging speeds. He also notes that final details are still dependent on support in iOS.
Could it be that the increased pressure from the European Union has helped change Apple’s mind? After all, if the company is faced with either being banned from selling Lightning products in Europe or making a version with USB-C for the European Union, it makes more sense to switch to USB- C at the global level.
If you’re skeptical of this report, I can’t blame you. The only thing I can say is that I have spoken to Apple about this topic several times. I certainly haven’t heard anyone say they think USB-C would be a good solution for the iPhone, but similarly I’ve noticed that the opposition to this idea has been a a little quieter recently. But not enough for me to say that this change is going to happen.
The other practical benefit for consumers is that there would only be one type of connector for gadgets and getting the wrong plug or charging cable could soon be a thing of the past.
It’s an intriguing prospect, even if it seemed far-fetched until, well, now. More information as soon as we have it.