Another year, another rumor about the iPhone ditching Lightning for USB-C. But this rumor may be rooted in solid ground. Not just because it comes from a reputable source, but because current circumstance is forcing Apple away from the outdated Lightning standard.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo states that a recent “survey,” presumably of Apple’s suppliers, indicate that the 2023 iPhone will use a USB-C port. Kuo regularly pulls information from these suppliers, and his predictions have proven to be fairly accurate.
While Apple insists that switching to USB-C will create unnecessary e-waste and force customers to buy new cables, that isn’t necessarily the case. Most people own at least one device that uses a USB-C cable, and Apple now uses USB-C in the Mac and the iPad.
It's expected to see existing USB-C-related suppliers of Apple's ecosystem (e.g., IC controller, connector) become the market's focus in the next 1-2 years, thanks to vast orders from iPhones and accessories' adoption of USB-C ports.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) May 11, 2022
Realistically, there are just two upsides to the Lightning port—it’s more water resistant than USB-C, and it helps Apple generate a profit through the MFi certification program. In terms of data transfer rates, charging speeds, and usability, USB-C is king, and Apple can no longer ignore that fact.
Not to mention, Apple may be forced to use USB-C. The European Parliament recently voted in favor of a proposal that would make USB-C a requirement for all small rechargeable devices.
But what about the portless iPhone? Well, judging by the current state of MagSafe, a portless iPhone probably won’t come any time soon. The technology isn’t reliable enough, fast enough, or fun enough.
That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if today’s rumor is incorrect. Apple may have stuck with the Lightning cable in anticipation of the portless iPhone. If it believes that a portless phone is right around the corner, it probably wants to avoid a two or three-year transition period with USB-C.