apple Long expected to move to iPhones are not fully portable At some point, and for most users, it makes perfect sense. But we’re seeing increasing reports that the iPhone maker will switch first from it Lightning to USB-C . portand this raises a major question.
Is USB-C just a short temporary phase before iPhones become fully wireless, or is the future of USB-C for iPhones longer…?
Note that neither report means that this is definitely happening. Koo was based on supply chain reporting, and at the time we noted uncertainty about these reports.
Apple likes to have as many suppliers as possible, to allow it to negotiate better prices and reduce risk. For example, if a major supplier of Lightning ports reports that Apple plans to cut orders next year, that will mean nothing more than a realignment of competing suppliers.
Likewise, the USB-C suppliers that talk about expecting a significant increase in orders next year may simply be Apple or other companies that increase orders with some suppliers while reducing them with others.
Bloomberg The report was based instead on internal testing of the iPhone USB-C device. I’m sure this report is accurate, but again, it falls short of proof. There’s a 100% chance specifically that USB-C iPhone prototypes have been inside Apple labs for years now. Does “testing” just mean trying these things, or something on a more formal and broader scale?
However, both sources seem reasonably confident in their predictions, so let’s now assume that they are correct. What does this mean for the future of iPhone ports? Here are my brief thoughts.
It will be too late
I’m a huge fan of port standardization in general, and USB-C in particular. Ideal for me is the day when absolutely all wired connections are USB-C to USB-C, and I can finally ditch five of the six cable trays I own, not to mention the extra unit with various adapters.
I was a bit skeptical of Kuo’s report for this reason. While I welcomed him, my immediate question was “Why now?”. Apple started switching to USB-C in the Mac back in 2016, and the iPad in 2018, so why wait another four years before the iPhone follows it in late?
In particular, if Apple is moving toward portless iPhones, why is it now going through the disabling of a wired port change that could last two or three years before a fully wireless iPhone?
If the reports are accurate, this is a step too late.
Most of them will be happy with portless iPhones
One possible explanation for the last point is simply that the reports are not transmitted it’s not True, and Apple plans to stick with the charging connection and wired data transfer option for the foreseeable future. However, I don’t buy it for several reasons.
First, the carry-free iPhone is completely in line with Apple’s design trend. Sure, things have changed a bit since Jony Ive left, but I think his vision of a “one pane of glass” is Apple’s ultimate goal.
Second, eliminating an outlet reduces manufacturing cost and complexity. This is also fully in line with the corporate ethos – as demonstrated by the removal of the headphone jack.
Third, removing the port improves reliability. It eliminates the largest entry point for dust and water, which will likely enhance the waterproofing standard significantly. Plus, it ends the problem of Lightning cable corrosion!
Finally, most iPhone owners don’t need to outlet – and even less so will do so in the future. Few iPhone owners do any wired data transfer, and most people can meet their charging needs with overnight wireless charging. As for top-up fees, we’re seeing an increasing number of wireless charging pads in cars, coffee shops, hotels, airports, offices… you name it. This trend will only continue. Same for power banks with MagSafe charging capabilities.
But there are still people who need a wired port
Apple can’t have both ways: argue that the iPhone is a suitable camera for professional video use (albeit mostly as a B or C camera) while at the same time eliminating the only practical way to transfer large amounts of 4K (And beyond 8 kilos) video clip.
If you use the iPhone to shoot professional videos, a wired port is essential, and USB-C is much better than Lightning.
Likewise, there will be a few people for whom wireless charging is not practical. If you are a really heavy iPhone user, and need to spend long periods between charges, then wireless charging speed may be a necessity rather than a luxury.
So there will always be some people who will need a wired connection (at least until wireless charging and wireless data transmission offers a speed much closer than wired connections), even if they are in the minority.
What is my best guess?
I can see one of two things happening, at the point where Apple feels ready to make the change on portless iPhones.
First, the standard iPhone model(s) don’t port, while the Pro models retain a wired port. This should make the point of differentiation worthwhile for more serious iPhone users, while the vast majority of consumers will still be happy with wireless charging and AirDrop.
Or secondly, make the iPhone Pro Max the only model that continues to offer a USB-C port. This will again be consistent with some features that are exclusive to the larger, more expensive model – like shifting the sensor and an optional 2.5x zoom that’s exclusive to the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
I think it’s possible that Apple could take the second approach without bothering a lot of people. Videographers are likely to appreciate the Pro Max’s larger screen, while anyone who needs to push battery usage to the extreme will obviously buy a Pro Max for longer battery life. So the two groups that make the most of a wired port are already likely to choose the higher model.
This is my bet. At some point in the next few years, all devices except the iPhone Pro Max will become portless, while the Pro Max gets or keeps a USB-C port. What is your point of view? Please take our poll and share your thoughts with us in the comments.
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