Just a few days after noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that Apple will likely dump the Lightning port in 2023, a new report claims that USB-C phones are already being tested.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that Apple has begun testing iPhone models “that replace the current Lightning charging port with the more prevalent USB-C connector” as it looks likely that European Union regulations will necessitate the change. He also says Apple is “working on an adapter that would let future iPhones work with accessories designed for the current Lightning connector” similar to the Lightning-to-3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter Apple shipped with the iPhone 7 and still sells for $9.
The move to USB-C would be a major one. Apple switched to Lightning from the clunky 30-pin dock connector with the iPhone 5 in 2012, and it’s been a mainstay on the iPhone and other accessories for the past 10 years. However, Apple has gradually been moving away from Lightning on the iPad, with the 10.2-inch iPad being the only remaining model without USB-C.
USB-C is slightly thicker than Lightning, but last year, an engineering student built an iPhone with a USB-C port without changing the thickness or removing any of the inside components. Along with universality with other devices and accessories, a USB-C port would also allow for faster data transfers. The iPhone’s Lightning port is currently limited to 480Mbps, much slower than the 10Gbps on the iPad Air.
Like Kuo, Gurman says Lightning won’t be dropped from the iPhone until 2023 at the earliest, and this year’s iPhone 14 will still have the tiny proprietary port.
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