Last October, a determined engineering student did what Apple has stubbornly refused to do: upgrade an iPhone with a USB-C port instead of Lightning. That phone went on to sell at auction for over $US86,000 ($119,385), proving there was a demand for the upgrade. This time Ken Pillonel has done the opposite, swapping out an Android’s USB-C port with Lightning, creating a smartphone that absolutely no one will want.
Putting a proprietary charging port on a device is an annoying inconvenience to consumers who have to then make sure they never misplace a proprietary charging cable. Although when one of the largest electronics makers in the world does it, it’s a slightly different story. Lightning was introduced by Apple to address some of the shortcomings of microUSB connectors, and as a much smaller alternative to the dock connector that iPhones had been using since launch.
But USB-C is clearly the future, and even Apple has switched to using the more common port for the iPad. The interest in Pillonel’s first USB-C iPhone leaves no question as to what feature most iPhone users want to see in the future, but could there be a devoted Android fan out there who’s stared longingly at the mountain of accessories still available for devices with a Lightning port? It’s doubtful, which is why this video was released today of all days.
Pillonel doesn’t go into a lot of detail about how they upgraded a Samsung Galaxy A51 with a Lightning port — that’s going to be explained in a longer video on their YouTube channel at a later date — but they shared a few details with Engadget about the hack. The Lightning port can both charge and transfer data to the Galaxy A51, but the biggest challenge was getting around the fact that Lightning cables are designed to only work with Apple devices, requiring Pillonel to come up with a clever way to trick the cable into thinking it was connected to Apple’s hardware.
Unlike the USB-C iPhone, Pillonel has no plans to put the Lightning’d Galaxy up for auction which is probably a smart idea since it’s a feature no Android user has ever asked for.