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Apple's Lightning could die next year (Update: Apple testing USB-C iPhones)

It's about damn time.
By
May 13, 2022
Lightning Connector vs USB C cable
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • A new report indicates Apple is already testing USB-C iPhones.
  • Trusted Apple leaker Ming-Chi Kuo claims we could see an iPhone with USB-C in 2023.
  • It’s possible some iPhones could be portless at the same time.

Update, May 13, 2022 (04:06 PM ET): Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is already testing USB-C iPhones for a possible release in 2023.

The company is likely making the change to comply with upcoming EU legislation that will require all manufacturers to adopt USB-C. For users who already have a wide array of Lightning-compatible peripherals, Apple is reportedly looking at a Lightning to USB-C adapter that will allow them to be used with the new models.


Original article, May 11, 2022 (09:55 PM ET): At this point, most major Apple products come with at least one USB-C port. That includes modern iPads, MacBooks, and Mac PCs. The iPhone is the most notable product that still uses Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector, with AirPods cases also being stuck with the port.

See also: The best USB-C cables you can buy

This could start to change, finally, as early as next year. Famed Apple leaker Ming-Chi Kuo says that an iPhone with USB-C in place of Lightning could launch in the second half of 2023. This suggests the iPhone 15 series could include at least one phone with a USB-C port.

If the iPhone drops Lightning, it’s a sure bet AirPods and any other products Apple launches after that point would also adopt USB-C. In other words, this could be the beginning of the end for the much-loathed Lightning protocol.

iPhone USB-C: A long time coming

Apple isn’t giving up Lightning on its own accord, of course. Pressure from the European Commission is forcing Apple’s hands. The EU wants to reduce e-waste and is also pushing for a “one-cable solution,” in which one protocol works for pretty much everything you own. Recently, the commission announced that USB-C would be that “one cable” protocol.

Essentially, Apple knows the clock is ticking for Lightning, and it needs to adopt USB-C eventually. If Kuo is correct, that could mean an iPhone with USB-C in 2023.

What about the rumors that Apple would abandon ports altogether? These could still be true. It’s possible Apple could launch the iPhone 15 Pro models — ostensibly the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max — without any ports at all. That would mean the phones would charge wirelessly only and use eSIM exclusively. However, the regular iPhone models could have USB-C since they are less expensive.

Also, Apple is likely to continue launching iPhone SE models, and those phones could also adopt USB-C. So Apple could do both the portless idea and the USB-C idea at the same time.

Either way, it’s about time Lightning took a hike. The one-cable solution can’t come soon enough.