Are Apple About to Ditch Their Lightning Charging Port?
"A new report from the Wall Street Journal, a historically reliable source on matters of iPhone, suggests iPhone 8 might ditch its Lightning port for a USB Type-C port. If it does, things could get way, way better for anyone who ever has to charge anything. Imagine: one cord to rule them all.
A few years back, when Apple phased out the trusty 30-pin dock connector of its early iPods and iPhones, it did so because the new Lightning port had a lot of advantages over both its predecessor and the competition. Lightning is small and reversible, something you can't say about 30-pin or microUSB cables. The problem is, it's proprietary. Outside the Apple universe, USB Type-C has risen up in the years since to match Lightning in form and beat it in ubiquity. USB Type-C is the ascending standard, and its only spreading.
It's even spreading to Apple devices, as a matter of fact. Type-C first showed up on 2015's 12-inch MacBook, where it served not only as a data port, much like the normal USB ports you find on any laptop, but also as the charging port, replacing Apple's proprietary (and terrific) MagSafe adapters. The most recent MacBook Pro continued this trend, essentially killing magSafe for good.
The fact that Apple has embraced Type-C on MacBooks but continued to use Lighting cables on iPhones has manifested in some real awkwardness. For example, the headphones that come with the iPhone 7 (which have a Lightning connection because the 7 did away with the headphone jack) don't plug into a new MacBook Pro. Plus, today's iPhone users carry around a Lightning cable that's good for charging their phone, but nothing else, whereas a Type-C cable is a multi tasker.
If iPhones were to adopt Type-C, the move would usher in an unprecedented uniform charging standard in the world of phones. And Type-C isn't just a charging standard—it's ridiculously capable. It can transmit video, which could let it replace HDMI and other specialised video cables. It can transmit audio too. There is virtually nothing this cable can't do if you let it.
If the iPhone 8 has a Type-C port, then it's quite possible you could use the very same cord to charge a Windows laptop, a Macbook, an Android phone, an iPhone, connect an external monitor to your laptop, or connect your computer to a TV. What's more, it's a tipping point that could drag other stragglers along. Being able to charge the same way an iPhone does is a huge incentive for smaller companies to ditch their proprietary charges for the open standard.
We may not have to wait long to find out. The original iPhone was released on June 29, 2007, which means the 10th anniversary is mere months away. The tech world presumes the iPhone 8 will arrive around this time to mark the occasion. If the rumours are true, it will have flashy features like a curved OLED screen made my Samsung—and retail for up to $1,000.
But keep your eye on that port. That's where the magic just might happen."
Source: Eric Limer, popularmechanics.com
- Joseph Flaherty