Recently, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tweeted that he believes that Apple will abandon the Lightning interface in the second half of 2023 and switch to the USB-C interface. Simply put, according to this well-known analyst, next year’s Apple iPhone 15 (Pro) series will be the first iPhone models to use the USB-C interface.
1. Portless iPhone may cause more problems due to current limitations of wireless technologies & the immature MagSafe ecosystem.
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
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) May 15, 2022
A bit later, Ming-Chi Kuo talked about some points. For instance, he said that due to the flaws in current wireless technology and the imperfect Apple MagSafe ecosystem, a completely uninterfaced iPhone could lead to more problems.
He believes that in the foreseeable future, other products based on Apple’s Lightning interface (such as AirPods, Magic Keyboard / Trackpad / Mouse, and MagSafe Battery) will also be converted to USB-C interfaces.
USB Type-C Interface and Its Advantages
USB-C interface ought to improve the data transfer and charging speed of the iPhone at the hardware level. However, according to the analyst, the actual effect depends on iOS support. He pointed out that due to a large number of USB-C orders for Apple’s iPhone and accessories, we will see existing USB-C-related Apple supply chain manufacturers become the new focus of the market in the next 1-2 years.
In this regard, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman confirmed that Apple is already testing a new USB-C phone. He believes that this is done because it is currently facing EU legislation to force the use of the USB-C interface. However, that’s a pity that the iPhone will not be replaced by a new interface before 2023.
“Apple Inc. is testing future iPhone models that replace the current Lightning charging port with the more prevalent USB-C connector, according to people with knowledge of the situation, a move that could help the company conform with looming European regulations.
In addition to testing models with a USB-C port in recent months, Apple is working on an adapter that would let future iPhones work with accessories designed for the current Lightning connector, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.”
In fact, Apple provided feedback to the European Commission on the issue of USB-C back in 2018:
“Apple stands for innovation. Regulations that would drive conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones freeze innovation rather than encourage it. Such proposals are bad for the environment and unnecessarily disruptive for customers.
More than 1 billion Apple devices have shipped using a Lightning connector in addition to an entire ecosystem of accessory and device manufacturers who use Lightning to serve our collective customers. We want to ensure that any new legislation will not result in the shipment of any unnecessary cables or external adaptors with every device, or render obsolete the devices and accessories used by many millions of Europeans and hundreds of millions of Apple customers worldwide. This would result in an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and greatly inconvenience users. To be forced to disrupt this huge market of customers will have consequences far beyond the stated aims of the Commission.
Beginning in 2009, Apple led industry efforts to work together to promote a common charging solution. And with the emergence of USB Type-C, we have committed alongside six other companies that all new smartphone models will leverage this standard through a connector or a cable assembly. We believe this collective effort by many of the industry’s leading companies is better for innovation, better for consumers and better for the environment.”
Apple iPhone Interface History
As a reference, in 2012, Apple released the iPhone 5 and the same-generation iPod with a new Lightning Dock interface. Users like and hate the latter. It uses an 8-pin connector that can be plugged on both sides, and is similar in size to Micro USB, replacing the 30-pin connector that Apple has used for many years. In addition, after switching to this interface, Apple also provided a corresponding adapter.
The first-generation iPhone released by Apple in 2007 used a 30pin interface.
It is worth mentioning that in order to protect the environment, Apple has already cut off the accessories of Apple’s mobile phone when it launched the iPhone 12 series in 2020, leaving only a mobile phone and a data cable in the entire package.