Apple is preparing to replace the proprietary Lightning port on its iPhones next year for the almost universally embraced USB-C, company analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims.
In a pair of tweets, Kuo said that Apple is going to make changes in 2023, based on an unspecified “survey” (probably from material makers, from whom Kuo seems to have received a lot of information to predict future Apple products). )
Kuo says adopting USB-C “can improve the iPhone’s transfer and charging speed in hardware design, but the details of the final features still depend on iOS support.”
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
Cuo’s predictions have rarely come to fruition – rumors and speculations about Apple adopting USB-C for the iPhone have been circulating for years. The smartphone industry has largely adopted the retro USB-C standard, and Apple itself has partially boarded it, adding USB-C to its latest iPad, and many Macs are using USB-C-compatible Thunderbolt ports. With pressure from policymakers to switch, the EU is still considering a proposal that would make USB-C ports mandatory on smartphones and other electronics (with the aim of reducing e-waste by standardizing chargers and data cables).
And yet, Apple has always seemed particularly resistant to the idea. It has been suggested that the company would make its iPhones more portable , relying on wireless charging and data transfer, rather than merging its devices with USB-C. And Kuo himself predicted last year that Apple would not consider USB-C ports. In March 2021, he said that Apple plans to have a Lightning port on the iPhone for the “near future” – partly to keep the company’s profitable Made for PiPhone (MFi) program running, and partly to improve waterproofing.
Maybe, though, the lightning has simply gone out. As Ace MacRumors noted in a recent episode, when Apple introduced the standard in September 2012, Phil Schiller called it “a modern connector for the next decade.” Good: It’s May 2022 and the decade is almost over.