We’re about six months away from the next iPhone, AKA the iPhone 8 (or the iPhone X, or the iPhone: Tenth Anniversary Edition), and as such, supply chain rumours are starting to leak out.
Most of these, you’ve heard before. There will allegedly be three different versions of the phone, with the super high-end version having an all-glass, curved OLED display. And we’ve heard various reports and rumours that on that model, Apple will ditch the home button. That makes us sad, even if it does seem inevitable.
But the latest rumour is so wild, it truly strains credulity. If the rumour wasn’t reported in The Wall Street Journal, I would just call “bullshit” on it immediately. But because The Journal is a reputable source, it’s worth discussing. Are you ready for this? The next iPhone will use USB-C for charging rather than the proprietary Lightning connection.
From The Wall Street Journal:
They said Apple would introduce other updates including a USB-C port for the power cord and other peripheral devices instead of the company’s original Lightning connector. The models would also do away with a physical home button, they said. Those updates would give the iPhone features already available on other smartphones.
Like I said, this is absolutely wild. Apple introduced Lightning back in 2012, replacing the 30-pin dock connector previously used on the company’s iPods and iPhone devices. Apple touted the new connector, which was smaller and reversible (meaning the connector end of the cable can be inserted from any side), as having more electronics and pins that would allow more types of communications to happen. It was better for audio, video and data transfer.
Customers complained about the switch from a connector that had become ubiquitous, to a new connector only used by Apple products. But you know what happened? An entire ecosystem of accessories and cables and chargers has been built around Lightning. When Apple killed the headphone jack, Lightning was its non-wireless replacement.
It just seems absurd to think Apple would replace that entire ecosystem after just five years. Of course, that in and of itself isn’t a reason to disbelieve this rumour. Apple is a company that will do what it thinks is the best for its products and its bottom line. If that means eviscerating an entire port and putting accessory makers in a weird position of having to make new gear for the billion people who already have a Lightning port gadget, so be it.
And it’s true that Apple has recently become VERY gung-ho on USB-C. The MacBook, the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Pro with TouchBar all only have USB-C ports. Right now, it is a little funny that in order to charge your iPhone with your new MacBook, you need a special Lightning to USB-C cable.
Still, I cannot imagine Apple forgoing Lightning in favour of USB-C. I know some consumers would love it, because it would finally mean you could use the same cable to charge an Android phone and an iPhone, but that in and of itself seems extremely un-Apple.
I have invested a not-insignificant amount of money in Lightning accessories and cables. If the next iPhone really does have a USB-C port, I’m just going to have to laugh. And then cry.