Gurman and Kuo both agree: Apple is testing an iPhone with a USB-C port before 2023
Gurman’s sources requested anonymity as this is a private matter. His report confirmed Kuo’s timeline for 2023, as Gurman pointed out that any changes to the Lightning port on the iPhone would not happen before 2023. This means consumers can expect each of the four iPhone units introduced later this year to include the usual Lightning port.
Before the Lightning port, there was the 30-pin adapter
Apple is ditching the 5.4-inch iPhone mini this year, and the refreshed lineup includes the 6.1-inch iPhone 14, the 6.7-inch iPhone Max, the 6.1-inch iPhone 14, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Replacing the Lightning port with USB-C would allow the latest iPhone models to connect to most iPad and Mac models that already use USB-C. Such a step simplifies charging and data transfer across multiple product lines.
Even with the change, some other Apple products will still use the proprietary Lightning system that debuted on September 12, 2012. It replaced the 30-pin adapter on the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, and seventh-generation iPod Nano. The fourth-generation iPad and the OG iPad mini were added to the Lightning device list in October 2012.
Gurman’s report adds that Apple is also working on an adapter that will allow future iPhone units to work with accessories made for the current Lightning connector. USB-C chargers are slightly larger than the Lightning adapter, and they charge faster and offer faster data transfer rates. If Apple makes this move in 2023, third-party accessory vendors will have to make changes to the designs of their charging products for Apple devices.
Apple is paid by third-party accessory manufacturers to enable them to use the Lightning adapter. But since USB-C is a standard used on many Android phones, Apple will no doubt lose some control over this area of phone accessories.
Apple may be required by law to make this change in Europe where: the EU has decided to force manufacturers of phones and other devices to switch to USB-C. Legislation requiring device makers to use USB-C has been passed by majority vote. The legislation basically says that: “Mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, portable video game consoles and portable speakers, rechargeable via a wired cable, should be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of manufacturer.”
Apple says forcing to use the USB-C port is stifling innovation
Last year, Apple said forcing manufacturers to use USB-C would make it harder to innovate. The company said: “We are concerned that regulations requiring only one type of connector for all devices on the market will harm European consumers by delaying the introduction of favorable innovations in charging standards, including those related to safety and energy efficiency. “
If the European law is not passed, Apple could decide to continue to focus on using the Lightning platform, even though many iPhone users were in favor of making the change anyway. If the law is passed, Apple could produce a special version of the iPhone with USB-C support for European markets, while the Lightning system will remain available elsewhere. Not only would that lead to confusion and chaos, but it would also be a messy situation for Apple’s supply chain.
So far, the iPhone has only had two different port designs. The bulky 30-pin plug was the design used in the launch of the OG iPhone in 2007. It was also used on products such as the iPod touch and the iPad. And then, of course, came the smaller and easier-to-use Lightning cable.
You may remember that last year an engineering student modified an iPhone X swap the Lightning port for a USB-C port. The phone sold on eBay for $86,000, indicating that there is a demand for an iPhone that uses USB-C. If Kuo and Gurman are right, such an animal will be on the market next year.