Last month, engineering student Ken Pillonel showed off the world’s first iPhone with a USB-C port, and now Pillonel has returned to reveal how he did it while also putting his custom USB-C iPhone up for auction.
Like many, Pillonel had become frustrated that Apple still hasn’t added USB-C ports to iPhones, so he grabbed a standard iPhone X and decided to make one on his own. It’s not just a cosmetic modification either, as Pillonel stipulated that his custom USB-C iPhone must support charging, data transfer, and reversibility, while maintaining functionality for the rest of the iPhone’s components. And after months of work and tinkering, Pillonel eventually succeeded, with his successful prototype now up for auction on eBay, with the current top bid sitting at just under $US5,000 (A$6,728).
However, before you put a bid on the world’s first iPhone with a working USB-C port, it’s important to note that Pillonel says users are prohibited from wiping, restoring, or updating the phone (which would presumably break the iPhone’s USB-C support), opening the phone, or using it as your daily driver, likely because the device is more of a proof of concept than a true everyday workhorse.
Admittedly, $US5,000 (A$6,728) is a lot to pay for a four-year-old iPhone (even one with a working USB-C port), so for anyone thinking about building their own, Pillonel also posted a video on YouTube documenting all the work he did to make a working USB-C iPhone, along with a link to an open-source repository on GitHub containing all the necessary files and info.
That said, this isn’t the kind of mod you can just whip up in a day, as Pillonel faced a number of challenges when trying to add USB-C to an iPhone including needing to reverse engineer Apple’s Lighting Connector, installing a custom circuit board, and even modifying the iPhone’s body to accommodate the USB-C ports slightly larger dimensions.
But in a time when the European Union is slowly working towards a mandate that would make USB-C the standard port on all phones, Pillonel’s project is so great because not only does it prove that an iPhone with USB-C is not a pipe dream, but that one day, iPhones and Android phones could share the same charging port in harmony without any real loss in performance or functionality.