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When Phil Schiller introduced the Lightning connector at the unveiling of the iPhone 5 in September 2012, he called it "a modern connector for the next decade," and with that 10-year mark coming up later this year, questions remain over what the future of the iPhone looks like and whether or not that future will include a Lightning port, or perhaps no port at all.

iP14-Lightning-Portless-Feature-blue.jpg

Every iPhone since the iPhone 5 has featured a Lightning port, which Apple touted in 2012 as a "smaller, smarter and more durable" port compared to the previous 30-pin connector. Even as the majority of the company's iPad line and the entire Mac line now feature USB-C, the iPhone has become the odd one out with its inclusion of Lightning.

The smartphone industry has rapidly transitioned to USB-C, with the vast majority of handsets on the market featuring the more versatile port. Apple's reluctance to follow the industry in adopting USB-C has annoyed many customers, but it appears Apple is sticking with Lightning on iPhone for the considerable future.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who frequently shares accurate insights into Apple's product plans, has said the company believes the adoption of USB-C would negatively impact its Made for ‌iPhone‌ (MFi) program and notes that Apple is concerned about lower standards of water resistance for USB-C compared to Lightning. Given those two points, Kuo says the iPhone will continue to feature Lightning for the "foreseeable future."

Apple-Prefer-Lightning-Over-USB-C-Feature.jpg

Apple's ultimate goal for the iPhone is to go completely portless, relying on MagSafe and wireless connections for charging and data transfer needs. MagSafe on the iPhone, which first debuted on the iPhone 12, is still not fully matured and is so far limited to charging. Apple is highly unlikely to abandon Lightning and adopt USB-C for only a few years before going portless. Instead, it's more likely to use Lightning while continuing to MagSafe matures for a future portless iPhone.

The European Commission could, however, impact how soon we get a portless iPhone. The EC has proposed a directive that would require all consumer electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers, and handheld videogame consoles, to feature a "common port," aka, USB-C. If the directive does pass in 2022, companies such as Apple will have two years to transition their devices to USB-C.

There are some caveats, though. On paper, the directive would constitute a significant change for the iPhone as it would be forced to include USB-C, but the directive only applies to devices that charge via cable.


A spokesperson for the EC confirmed to The Verge that if a device exclusively charges via wireless charging, it isn't required to include a USB-C port. That, alongside the two-year transition period that the directive would allocate to companies to transition to USB-C, gives Apple ample time to mature MagSafe and abandon Lightning in favor of an all-wireless future.

Apple's confusing port lineup has not gone unnoticed. Across the latest iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and AirPods models, Apple offers customers four completely different types of chargers to juice up their devices. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman highlighted the inconsistency in his Power On newsletter this past August. As Gurman noted at the time, "Lightning served Apple well since 2012, but USB-C has clearly won out across the industry and has become the default connector for new devices."


Article Link: Apple's Lightning Port is Nearing Its Expiration Date, So What's Next for the iPhone?
 

Justin Cymbal

macrumors 6502
Mar 25, 2008
451
2,613
Boston, Massachusetts
The main reason that I prefer having the lightning port on my iPhone most of the time is because I’m using the phone while it’s charging and obviously once Apple transitions to wireless charging that will no longer be an option

I also use the Apple smart battery case for my iPhone 11 Pro and unless Apple has a wireless battery case for the iPhone 14 next year, that no longer will be an option- The only thing comparable to that right now is the smart battery pack that works with both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 but it’s not the same as the smart battery case which does a great job of protecting the phone
 

KanosWRX

macrumors 6502
Jul 14, 2008
423
417
I just hope they switch to USB-C.. they can't get rid of the port completely, too many devices rely upon some kind of physical port, namely millions of cars that have Apple CarPlay. They would piss off a lot of people if they killed it off completely unless they can magically turn all those cars into wireless CarPlay.
 

SactoGuy18

macrumors 601
Sep 11, 2006
4,395
1,555
Sacramento, CA USA
I think what Apple may do is upgrade the Lightning port to run at least USB 3.0 standard, possibly even USB 3.1. That will allow 10 gigabit data transfer rate, which is nearly 21 times faster than the USB 2.0 standard now supported. At USB 3.1 speed, that would be enough to transfer ProRAW still image and ProRes video files off an iPhone at vastly more reasonable speeds.

However, Apple may have found a supplier of USB Type C connectors that meets Apple's strict criteria for water resistance, and that could allow at least the iPhone 14 Pro models to go USB Type C with Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 support.
 
Not a big fan of the MagSafe. It's a cool feature but overheats the phone way too much. Also, not convenient at all.

Just bring the USB-C to the iPhone's lineup. Keep it simple. Makes no sense why iPhone doesn't carry the USB-C. The hardware features we want from the current iPad Air, the iPhone itself doesn't carry. It's kinda sad. For example Fingerprint Touch ID button, USB-C.
 

mnsportsgeek

macrumors 601
Feb 24, 2009
4,381
6,850
The main reason that I prefer having the lightning port on my iPhone most of the time is because I’m using the phone while it’s charging and obviously once Apple transitions to wireless charging that will no longer be an option

I also use the Apple smart battery case for my iPhone 11 Pro and unless Apple has a wireless battery case for the iPhone 14 next year, that no longer will be an option- The only thing comparable to that right now is the smart battery pack that works with both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 but it’s not the same as the smart battery case which does a great job of protecting the phone
Magsafe can be used while charging.
 

JDGwf

macrumors member
Oct 20, 2016
76
130
I just hope they switch to USB-C.. they can't get rid of the port completely, too many devices rely upon some kind of physical port, namely millions of cars that have Apple CarPlay. They would piss off a lot of people if they killed it off completely unless they can magically turn all those cars into wireless CarPlay.
There's always BlueTooth. I use it on my old Tundra until my next vehicle later this year.
 

Le Big Mac

macrumors 68030
Jan 7, 2003
2,811
380
Washington, DC
Not a big fan of the MagSafe. It's a cool feature but overheats the phone way too much. Also, not convenient at all.

Just bring the USB-C to the iPhone's lineup. Keep it simple. Makes no sense why iPhone doesn't carry the USB-C. The hardware features we want from the current iPad Air, the iPhone itself doesn't carry. It's kinda sad. For example Fingerprint Touch ID button, USB-C.
Also not as fast as cable.
 

Koni17

macrumors member
Nov 2, 2016
79
417
I can see USB-C being implemented in the very near future. There's nothing "Pro" about the iPhone Pro when it takes forever to transfer huge video files over lightning. Seeing how they've been heavily promoting video capabilities in the iPhone to amateur cinematographers, it's only a matter of time until a new standard is implemented.
 
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Apple$

macrumors 6502
May 21, 2021
358
658
Most average people likely don't have a wireless charger but they have a USB C port on their phone or computer. I hope Apple will include a USB C port because it's the current standard as the majority of consumer electronics made within the last 4-5 years has a USB C port.
 
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fwmireault

Contributor
Jul 4, 2019
2,162
9,243
Montréal, Canada
I don’t like Lightning and wished Apple would move to USB-C a few years ago. But I don’t think it’s honest to state in the title that it has an expiration date based on a vague statement from an Apple executive. Apple never said explicitly that they would move on in 2022, and a decade in this context does not mean exactly 10 years, so this kind of title implies something that Apple never said
 

napabar

Suspended
Jun 12, 2008
316
513
The main reason that I prefer having the lightning port on my iPhone most of the time is because I’m using the phone while it’s charging and obviously once Apple transitions to wireless charging that will no longer be an option

I also use the Apple smart battery case for my iPhone 11 Pro and unless Apple has a wireless battery case for the iPhone 14 next year, that no longer will be an option- The only thing comparable to that right now is the smart battery pack that works with both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 but it’s not the same as the smart battery case which does a great job of protecting the phone
You can talk with the MagSafe charger attached to the iPhone.
 

roncron

macrumors 65816
Aug 15, 2011
1,130
2,192
I don't mind paying more for an Apple smartphone or tablet because, for me, they provide better quality and user experience compared to less expensive non-Apple phones and tablets.

But Apple's decision to stick with Lightning is less about providing the consumer with value and more about the massive licensing fees Apple can charge to license "Made for iPhone" to companies that sell third-party cables.
 
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