You can forget your portless iPhone for a while. According to analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple isn’t quite ready to go all-in on wireless charging.
As it turns out, they have something far more pressing to contend with, and I think it’s the best news we’ve had from Cupertino for quite some time.
I’ve made no secret about my disliking of the Lightning port. You may even be slightly cheesed-off with my incessant moaning about Apple’s proprietary charging and data transfer method.
That won’t stop me. Lightning will remain a blot on Apple’s landscape until it is removed entirely from every product on which it still resides. And, finally, it looks like we’re getting somewhere.
The problem with Lightning
There are two issues with Lightning:
- it is comically slow; and
- it isn’t USB-C.
The widely used USB-C standard is capable of transferring data at up to 40Gbps. Lightning can only muster 480Mbps and is comparable to USB 2.0 in terms of transfer speed. It is dog slow.
It’s a similar story when it comes to charging. With a USB-C connection, you gain access to native power support for up to 240W charging and USB Power Delivery (PD) for fast charging. Lightning, on the other hand, will limp along at a maximum of 12W, and if you want to gain access to any kind of fast charging, you’ll need a USB-C to Lightning adaptor.
However, the worst thing about Lightning relates to convenience. Practically every chargeable device you buy these days will come complete with a USB-C port. Even Apple has switched to this standard for its MacBooks and most iPads.
The odd ones out are the iPhone, AirPods line, and the 9th generation iPad. This means that unless you’re relying on wireless charging or MagSafe, you have to always keep a Lightning cable handy alongside your trusty USB-C cable. The same goes for most Apple peripherals including the Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad.
However, nowhere is this more ridiculous than with AirPods Max – Apple’s super-expensive over-ear headphones which stick out like a sore thumb in a market that resolutely relies on USB-C charging.
I don’t care how much money Apple makes from Lightning thanks to MFi licensed peripherals. It needs to die.
The iPhone may get USB-C in 2023
The European Union has spent years campaigning for a universal charging port in a bid to reduce waste. The argument is simple and makes perfect sense – ensure every small and medium-sized device requires the same type of charging cable, and users can maintain far fewer chargers and cables, thus resulting in less e-waste.
So, we all get to save the planet and enjoy the ultimate convenience of relying on just one cable for all of our battery-powered tech. Joyous.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, we might see the result of this from Apple’s side far sooner than anticipated.
(1/2)— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) May 11, 2022
My latest survey indicates that 2H23 new iPhone will abandon Lightning port and switch to USB-C port. USB-C could improve iPhone's transfer and charging speed in hardware designs, but the final spec details still depend on iOS support.
Last week, the infamous Apple leaker revealed new information from one of his surveys which suggests that the ‘2H23’ iPhone will abandon the Lightning report in exchange for USB-C. That means the 2023 iPhone is the likely candidate for finally bringing Apple’s smartphone into line with every other device on the market.
If true, this is wonderful news. Beyond the charging convenience, it would mean far greater data transfer speeds from the iPhone – the lack of which at the moment is the largest elephant in a room full of people using the iPhone to shoot large ProRes video footage.
But this could be the start of something much bigger.
Beyond the iPhone
In a reply to his own tweet from 11th May, Ming-Chi Kuo provided further details on the reasons for Apple temporarily abandoning the idea of a portless iPhone, citing the “current limitations of wireless technologies” and “immature MagSafe ecosystem”.
Then, he dropped a far juicer tidbit. The rumoured USB-C powered 2023 iPhone could be just the start of a much wider play by Apple.
1. Portless iPhone may cause more problems due to current limitations of wireless technologies & the immature MagSafe ecosystem.— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) May 15, 2022
2. Other Lightning port products (e.g., AirPods, Magic Keyboard/Trackpad/Mouse, MagSafe Battery) would also switch to USB-C in the foreseeable future. https://t.co/KD14TgBmtr
That’s right – it sounds like Apple will move to USB-C for AirPods, peripherals, and accessories like the MagSafe battery, too. If true, this is a huge step forward. Of all my devices, my AirPods, Magic Keyboard, and MagSafe Battery Pack all run out of juice far more often than anything else simply because I never have a Lightning cable to hand. In the MagSafe Battery Pack’s case, this has resulted in me abandoning the device entirely – and I’m not far off doing the same with the AirPods Max.
Let’s just hope they place the USB-C port somewhere sensible on future iterations of the Magic Mouse, eh?
Apple’s hand is, clearly, being forced by governmental and regulatory pressures when it comes to USB-C and the death of Lightning. About time, too.