Apple Reportedly Swapping Its iPhone Lightning Port for USB-C Next Year

The reported change would be a big reversal from Apple and is likely spurred by government policy.
Adam Rowe

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has made a bold claim, saying that Apple will drop the Lightning port in favor of the far more universal USB-C port.

The change will — reportedly — arrive as soon as next year, with the release of the iPhone 15.

The change has long been rumored, so this isn't a surprise. It's a welcome change for many users, too, since it means new iPhones will be compatible with far more devices and cables.

What We Know

The analyst didn't offer a source beyond mentioning his own survey, which indicates the news of a switch in charging ports comes from deductive research rather than a definitive leak.

But according to the two tweets that dropped the news, the switch is expected to arrive with the 2023 models.

The reported change would be a big reversal from Apple and is likely spurred more by government policy than the company's own interest.

For years, the EU has been considering a policy that would make USB-C ports mandatory across all devices, including iPhone. Apple didn't mince any words about its opposition to the idea back in 2020. Here's what one spokesperson had to say at the time:

“Legislation would have a direct negative impact by disrupting the hundreds of millions of active devices and accessories used by our European customers and even more Apple customers worldwide, creating an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and greatly inconveniencing users.”

So, what does the update mean for you?

What it Means

Apple introduced the Lightning port to replace the chunky 30-pin dock connector back in 2012 and has been using it for every iPhone since. And ever since the tech giant dropped the headphone jack from its iPhone as well, the Lightning port has been pulling double duty, both charging the device and serving as the only port of call for those with wired headphones.

Updating to USB-C might be a tough transition — while a USB-C port could boost transfer and charging speeds, that might depend on which type of cable a user winds up with. There's only one type of Lightning cable, but plenty of USB cables are fast while others are slow, which may lead to confusion.

Once the shift is over, though, we'll all be free from the arguably overpriced Lightning cable, which is a win for everyone except Apple's bean-counters.

One thing's for sure: It'll be a slow transition. There are over a billion iPhones in circulation around the globe, and none of them use UCB-C cables. A change in direction this large will have a big one-time impact on plenty of people, from individual consumers to businesses like restaurants that use POS systems on iPhones and haven't yet shifted to USB-C.

Assuming this report is true, the 2023 dongle industry will be booming.

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Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and he has an art history book on 1970s sci-fi coming out from Abrams Books in 2022. In the meantime, he's hunting own the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.

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