Apple considered killing the Lightning port — and wired charging — on last year’s iPhone X flagship, a new report suggests.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman revealed that tidbit of information in a report mostly about the delayed AirPower charging mat. In that report, published Thursday, Gurman wrote that, during the iPhone X’s development, “Apple weighed removing the wired charging system entirely.”
Reportedly, Apple decided against nixing the Lightning port because it “wasn’t feasible” for a couple of reasons. Wired charging is still comparatively slower than wired charging solutions. And including a wireless charger in the box with new iPhones would have significantly bumped up their price. Not to mention most cars require an iPhone to be connected via a Lightning cable to use Apple CarPlay.
Gurman added that Apple designers “eventually hope to remove most of the external ports and buttons on the iPhone, including the charger,” citing sources familiar with Apple’s plans. And while the iPhone X retained Apple’s signature Lightning port, the Cupertino tech giant hasn’t been shy about expressing its ambitions for a “wireless future.”
Apple may be laying the groundwork for that future, too. Its AirPods, a standout hit among consumers, is just one piece of the puzzle. The delayed AirPower wireless charging mat is likely another.
Of course, any port switch or update is bound to spark controversy among iPhone owners. That’s especially true of nixing wired connectivity altogether.
At this point, the Lightning port is still the most convenient option for data transfers between iPhones and computers. And it’s the only way to connect to CarPlay-enabled vehicles or other Lightning accessories — from battery packs to docks.
To be fair, the same could have been said of the switch from 30-Pin to Lightning. And as we know, Apple and its users came out of that switch unscathed.
What About USB-C?
Of course, this rumor seemingly conflicts with a separate report about a port switch. Earlier this month, a supply chain source told DigiTimes that Apple was considering switching its devices over to USB-C by 2019.
Seemingly, that report suggested that the cables included with future iPhones would be USB-C to USB-C, effectively marking the end of Apple’s Lightning standard.
Of course, since Apple’s plan to remove most ports and buttons on future iPhones is probably still quite a few years off, the company could switch its devices over to USB-C in the interim. We wrote about the pros and cons of such a switch in a previous piece.
The move would make sense with Apple’s larger lineup. The company’s recent MacBook devices have made the switch to a USB-C type port. Replacing Lightning with USB-C would mean that cables could be interchangeable and users could connect to their Macs without any dongles.
As far as this year’s iPhone lineup, Apple is rumored to switch to a Lightning to USB-C setup. Those peripherals, which could include a redesigned 18W power adapter, would allow this year’s iPhones to take advantage of USB-C’s fast charging specification.
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