back to article Apple to replace future iPhone Lightning port with USB-C next year, this guy claims

Apple may ditch its exclusive Lightning port in favor of the more widely used USB-C for future iPhone models. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted the shift on Wednesday, pointing out that the move would beef up the devices' wired connectivity, and shake up supply chains. "My latest survey indicates that 2H23 new iPhone will …

  1. Mishak Silver badge

    "The UK Government"

    The position of the UK Government is irrelevant; Apple will not produce a model just to sell it in the UK.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Re: "The UK Government"

      The UK Government is irrelevant.

      FTFY

    2. AMBxx Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: "The UK Government"

      All the UK government is saying is that it won't force a common charger. Nothing to see.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: "The UK Government"

        but it won't prevent it from claiming to be the primary proponent on this subject after Apple decides what to do

    3. Craig 2

      Re: "The UK Government"

      I actually think it's a savvy move... As you say Apple will produce a single model, likely with USB3 if the EU legislation prevails. Thus we (and the rest of the world) will get the environmental benefits* without having to spend £millions on overpaid studies, long lunches and endless debate.

      * Because there's nothing environmentally friendly about consumer electronics....

      1. Steve Graham

        Re: "The UK Government"

        Thank goodness the UK gorvernment doesn't go in for spending "£millions on overpaid studies, long lunches and endless debate"!

  2. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    Still doesn't change anything ....

    .... I'm NOT buying one!

    1. monty75

      Re: Still doesn't change anything ....

      Oh, look. Now you’ve made Tim Cook cry.

      1. elkster88
        Trollface

        Re: Still doesn't change anything ....

        Oh, look. Now you’ve made Tim Cook Apple cry.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Still doesn't change anything ....

      There are plenty of others out there who will be getting one.

      Tim Apple does not care about what the likes of you, me and even the esteemed hacks that work on this site think. He works in millions of sales.

      TBH, this move has been coming for a long time. It is not that startling although the likes of Kuo will milk it for a long time.

  3. monty75

    > Kuo's predictions should be taken with a pinch of salt

    He seems to be sticking enough fingers in the air that he’ll be able to say one of them was right, thus proving he’s a trend-forecasting super seer

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge
      Coat

      Is he trying to get a job working for Gartner ?

      The one with the pocket full of cables.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Coat

      He seems to be sticking enough fingers in the air that he’ll be able to say one of them was right, thus proving he’s a trend-forecasting super seer

      That's wet fingers in the air? No? To see which way the wind blows?

  4. gryphon

    Confused

    Is the EU planning on a standard charger, i.e. with a USB-C outlet or a common charging port?

    Every report I've read keeps saying standard charger without defining properly what that actually means.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Confused

      With the speed the EU moves, we'll all be on USB-D by the time C is forced.

      1. Blergh
        Trollface

        Re: Confused

        I vote for Parallel port!

        I hope that helps convey my view on mandating a single type of port.

        1. Simon Harris

          Re: Confused

          I’m going for a 20mA loop.

          True, it takes a week to charge, but at least I can plug a Teletype in.

        2. fidodogbreath

          Re: Confused

          Token Ring!

        3. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Confused

          what about Sandeman's

      2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Confused

        With the speed the EU moves, we'll all be on USB-D by the time C is forced.

        I admire your optimism, by that time USB-E will be EOL.

      3. DS999 Silver badge

        This has already happened

        Considering that when they started talking about this a decade ago micro USB was the standard they wanted to force everyone to use, that's already happened.

        We better hope USB-C is good enough to last the rest of our lives, because there's no way they'll ever update it for something newer regardless of what the proponents of the law say. Imagine if it had been done right away and micro USB was the standard. Would anyone have even TRIED to bring USB-C to market, knowing that it would be illegal as a primary connector in the whole EU, and therefore something no smartphone maker would consider using nor any laptop vendor be allowed to use for charging?

        Even if USB-C did come to market as it did, given the 10 years and counting of dickering over this, how many years or decades of dickering would it have taken for them to update the standard even if every consumer wanted it? They claim to be doing this to eliminate all the Apple Lighting to USB-C cables that might someday end up in a landfill. Well imagine their reluctance to move off micro USB knowing that untold billions of micro USB cables and micro USB chargers would end up in landfills throughout the entire world as a result of updating the standard.

        They would never do it, we would have been stuck on micro USB for the rest of our lives.

  5. Tubz Silver badge

    I personally believe Apple will go all in Magsafe wireless charging, dropping a port and all that goes with it is BOM saving, maybe drop the price a few pennies and then charge you for Magsafe charger, discounted if purchased at the same time as the iPhone.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      My money is on wireless charging. A friend with inside info has said this a year ago when this subject was bandied about here on El Reg... no connectors what so ever.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        And it is again time to link to this.

        1. jumblist

          That's essential viewing for many commenters here. Wireless charging in its current form is clearly not a sensible solution.

          FWIW Apple were probably going to switch their phones to USB C anyway, their iPads and laptops already use it and lightening is increasingly old hat. Meanwhile although the standard will evolve the form factor and backward compatibility of USB C will persevere for a long time. It's not even a discussion really, I don't understand why people seem to get so wound up about this stuff.

      2. Spanners Silver badge
        Devil

        @chivo243

        I also suspect that they may "invent" a new Wireless charging system that is completely different from anything else that is in use and does not work on normal smartphones.

        Possibly, to save themselves from lawsuits, they may allow their devices to use normal charger, just VERY slowly.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      >I personally believe Apple will go all in Magsafe wireless charging

      I would hope that Apple would use its market position to push the magnetic USB-C and Magsafe connectors into the standard and thus avoid the costs of tooling up for a proprietary connector and a few years down to road having to change it to something invented elsewhere...

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      There's one big issue preventing them from doing that

      The installed base of Magsafe to USB cables is tiny. Today Lightning to USB cables are ubiquitous, you can always find one in a pinch if you don't have one with you. Same for USB-C cables. Used to be true for micro USB cables.

      It would be like the initial days of the Lightning conversion when the only Lightning to USB cables were the ones shipped with new iPhones, and third parties hadn't started making them yet (and when they did they cost as much as Apple's for the first couple months until more were produced) which is what led to a few months of backlash from Apple owners because the new connector was a hassle and their investment in docking equipment using the old connector was lost.

      They were willing to tolerate it for Lightning because it was better than the old connector in every way, as well as better than micro USB (USB-C was still a few years away) in every way. Switching to a magnetic charging adapter that may have a few advantages over USB-C (no connector to break, no worry about security issues - google 'badUSB') but isn't clearly better in every way like Lightning was would be a lot harder to do without customer backlash.

  6. low_resolution_foxxes

    Is it not fair to say, that the Apple 2012 design for lightning is limited to somewhere in the region of 5-20W power charging?

    With USB edging up to 50-100W, is it not likely that Apple would have to change anyway, as the other brands rollout 50-100W chargers?

    It's probably for the best. We all know Apple just want a fancy connector so they can sell you a sweatshop-made $1 cable for $40 in New York, cutting out the local markets selling £5 cables on Amazon.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      100W charger on a phone?

      I think we need new battery tech before that becomes reasonable.

      1. HeadPlug

        Some Chinese phones already support 200W+ chargers?

        https://9to5google.com/2021/05/31/xiaomi-200w-charger-video/

        https://www.tomsguide.com/news/oppos-incredible-240w-charging-can-completely-fill-a-phone-in-10-minutes

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        "I think we need new battery tech before that becomes reasonable."

        You're correct, we need it not to kill batteries in no time. Unfortunately, we don't need new tech for it to sort of work, so it's being sold by many phone manufacturers right now. The selling point is that it can charge your phone in twenty minutes if you forgot to do so. That you have to buy a new battery (or phone) when doing that renders it unreliable is somewhere between not their problem and one of their goals.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Charging at such rates is stupid, it reduces the life of your battery. It is only good for a specs battle between Chinese Androids, it has no purpose in a smartphone you want to last longer than a couple years.

      So long as your battery easily makes it through a day for you, it doesn't matter how long it takes to charge. I still use one of the old 5W chargers my older iPhones shipped with instead of the newer 15W charger. I don't see any benefit in charging faster since I'm sleeping anyway and figure the difference between 5W and 15W might get me a bit more battery life.

      If Apple wanted to they could modify Lightning's specs to charge at a faster rate. It isn't like the connector itself has some sort of limit.

  7. 45RPM Silver badge

    Lightning had its place and had its time. It was vastly better than Apples previous ‘orrible connector and still much better than other USB connectors. But against USB-C? It’s tosh. Bin it, move on, happy days.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Indeed - it's had a decade of consistent support, which is more than you can say for most other phone charger "standard"s.

      Even just a few years ago a phone cable was used for data, but that's less and less the case now - so at what point do we drop them entirely? Or are we close to the point where a phone can plug into a thunderbolt dock and be a useful productivity machine?

      1. Piro Silver badge

        A phone that docks to be used as a desktop was done years ago, 2011 with Motorola Webtop.. Motorola Atrix as the first to do it, if I recall correctly.

        Nobody was saying it worked particularly well, necessarily, but the concept has been floating around a bit since then, Samsung have also done it, among no doubt others.

        Fact is though, only recently have I been happy enough with my corporate issue laptop to give up my desktop machine at work, swapping a Skylake 6700 with an 1165G7. If it took so many years to get a corporate thin-and-light I was happy with (without spending big money on a workstation), that kind of performance in a phone is probably some distance away.

        Not to mention the fact that having a laptop with a large screen and integrated keyboard makes the thing usable when on the move, utterly unlike a smartphone, which then needs all kinds of accessories filling a bag to become vaguely usable to the same degree.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          My Lumia running Windows did the same. It was great to play with, but I never felt the need to use it for more than play.

        2. John Robson Silver badge

          The point being that you don't need the accessories if it's all TB, those exist at the various locations you want to do stuff.. and the phone is still useful, even if you wouldn't choose to use it for a large spreadsheet on the train.

          The other point being that I wonder if we're actually close to the point where it's a reasonable approach. Don't know if the M1 in a phone would work - might need a copper pad on the back for some extra cooling though.

          I've been waiting for it for 15 years now, I suspect it will be a little way off for a while though

          1. DJO Silver badge

            With software and firmware bloat increasing at roughly the same rate as mobile processing power I doubt if we'll ever see a true convergence.

            Though if your requirements are modest, the ability has been around for ages.

            1. Evil Scot Bronze badge
              Joke

              I would love to come up with a broad ranging quote about this.

              You know.

              Something Meta.

          2. Piro Silver badge

            Well, I mean that you still need accessories to get any work done. If you're talking about simply docking it at a desk with keyboard and monitors, then yes, fair enough - but the idea of a mobile device is to be able to work on the move.

            I couldn't get much done on a phone, which was my point - a laptop is a far more useful form factor for actually getting anything done, and it has a much larger space to play with, and thin-and-lights are only now fast enough for most purposes.

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              That's one option for how to use a portable device.

              Note that I used the word portable rather than mobile.

              My current machine sits plugged into an eGPU (for driving multiple monitors) basically all the time - it occasionally goes into an office with me (either in the UK or stateside), where it gets plugged into monitors etc. I can't recall the last time I needed to use it as a *mobile* computing device. I *do* use my phone to look stuff up on shared documents, I'm not going to write war and peace, but I can update a tracking spreadsheet etc...

              Last time I worked on the bus/train/plane I grabbed an iPad mini and folding bluetooth keyboard. Worked an absolute treat (though the keyboard is a touch smaller than I'd like, but it's really compact when folded).

              I've used the keyboard with the phone as well, though there's a less clear use case there (since you don't want to do huge amounts of stuff on the small screen).

              Though there is always the option to have a thin and light with a battery in the keyboard (to weight it down) and a usbc port - that would then connect to any phone, and the next one, and potentially (though possibly with a dongle) to the back of servers etc.

              tldr - multiple different needs, not everyone the same, bear's catholic, pope defecates in the woods.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @45RPM

      First of all, I wouldn't normally make a comment on a comment like yours... but, as I still very often, play my 45 rpm (mainly Tamla and 60's 70's stuff) records your name struck a chord!

      So you deserve a genuine question. I take it as given that U.S.B.C is good. No problem there. But I can't see how it is better that Lightning. Help please?

      One other thing, (open to anyone) did the E.U. say that all connectors on chargers should be the same, or all connecting wires should be the same. There is a difference. Sorry about that last question, but I didn't get a shag last night so fuck it!

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      >But against USB-C? It’s tosh.

      Only if you are a fan of tick lists. Lightning wins hands down on mechanical robustness and usability.

      USB-C might be a common connector, but you have to read the small print to understand what protocol versions are supported by a specific system on a specific USB-C port, a individual cable supports and whether these are compatible with the peripheral you are trying to connect. Have spent too much time messing around with USB-HDMI/Displayport connectivity for HD, 4K etc. TV and cameras...

      Aside: Had to recently replace my son's phone, it seems Android is going the same way, as you now have to ask whether it does/doesn't come with Google Play store access etc...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Was going to write along similar lines and ask if the EU will also mandate a single standard for USB-C cables. At the moment, I have an assortment around my desk and portable kit as some don't carry data, some are needed for higher power charging and others (to stretch the point) for Thunderbolt connections. At least with Lightning, I know what it's for (not that I often use it as my phone is normally charged on my overnight Qi pad or the Qi pad in my car.

        When staying away, I need three cables anyway (from a single charger): one for my MacBook (USB-C to USB-C, one for my iPad (USB-A to USB-C) and one for my iPhone (USB-A to Lightning). A new phone with USB-C wouldn't let me carry fewer cables. That's me; YMMV but a lot of people assume everyone is the same as they are...

        1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

          That's what I wondered. Is there anything to prevent Apple from inventing its own version of the USB-C connector that meets the EU charging requirements but in other respects is Apple-proprietary forcing me to pay £20-a-pop for yet another set of iPhone cables.

          1. Piro Silver badge

            Not at all, they could implement their own fast charging standard that wasn't USB-PD. Money money money.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          >When staying away, I need three cables anyway...

          Missed out the airpod et al charging case.

          Now multiply that across a household... The device number problem is why I have several 2.4A per port 5 port USB chargers and in-car charging adaptors.

          Currently can't see wireless charging being any real help in the charging of multiple devices.

  8. Gordon 10

    I'm unconvinced.

    Especially by the analysts BS rationale about speeds and charging. This is Apple. Multiple inventor or adopter of "different" connectors and protocols.

    If they put their mind to it they could easily invent or promote something better just like they did when they were about the only big company to promote Thunderbolt or SCSI or Firewire.

    Now as a BOM reduction exercise from Tim the master beancounter - as mentioned further up the comments - that I could believe.

    (as an aside USB-C PD charging on the newish Ipad Pro is as brilliant as the standard USB-C on it charging is poor.)

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Yes, this is Apple

      It only "invents" things to ensure sheeple stay in the pen and its products because they are totally incompatible with everything else.

      The only reason Apple gear recognizes TCP/IP is because the Internet happened without Steve Jobs' oversight.

      1. Simon Harris

        Re: Yes, this is Apple

        Apple seems to even make itself incompatible with itself!

        I have an Apple TV subscription (courtesy of a free gift from my credit card company), an old Apple TV box and a couple of other devices with the Apple TV app. For no apparent reason this week the Apple TV box was the only thing that refused to connect to the Apple TV streaming service even though it could connect to everything else. Weird.

        1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Yes, this is Apple

          you gave the reason: "an old Apple TV box"

  9. Totally not a Cylon
    Coat

    I predict.....

    They'll skip USB-C and go straight to Thunderbolt....

    <hides>

  10. jmch Silver badge

    Kerkuffle

    "o avoid the kerfuffle of having to potentially build two types of iPhones for different parts of the world, Apple could just start supporting USB-C"

    If Apple had a strong internal reason to not use USB-C, it would first lobby the EU hard to not adopt the standard, and if that failed would sooner produce an EU-only USB-C phone than have the change imposed. It would only go universally for USB-C if they saw advantages(or at least no disadvantages) in functionality vs Lightning connector. Of course if they're on the fence, the EU issue could push them off

  11. hoola Silver badge

    Apple, USB-C

    I am sure that Apple will find a way to make this proprietary in some way.

    There will be a chip in the connector so you can only use a £50 Apple cable rather than a generic for "full functionality".

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Apple, USB-C

      They would have to allow charging on a generic standards-compliant USB-C cable. They could require an Apple cable for fast charging, or for data transfer.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Apple, USB-C

        Suspect they are already doing something similar with iOS. Have a bunch of iPads (okay with batteries reaching EoL) that are refusing to charge with the third-party gear I've been using for years, but will charge happily with Apple charger and cable...

  12. Phil Kingston

    EU's just gonna make them...

    ...go portless earlier than planned

    Think of the wireless charging pad dollarbucks!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: EU's just gonna make them...

      My iPhone is years old and does qi charging. I use a different company's charging mat because Apple fucked up with their own design. So who gets the dollarbucks? (for other English people, I think he means poundquids}

    2. Falmari Silver badge

      Re: EU's just gonna make them...

      @Phil Kingston "...go portless earlier than planned"

      I can't see the EU decision having any impact one way or the other. They will go portless when they believe they can sell it.

      When their customers no longer have a need for a data port. When wireless charging rates can match wired charging rates.

      Finally when there is sufficient wireless charging around so their customers are not required to carry a charging pad with them if they need to charge on the go. A cable is cheaper than a pad and is easy to keep one on you just slip it into a pocket.

    3. Piro Silver badge

      Re: EU's just gonna make them...

      I think that idea is ridiculous, do people really want to carry wireless charging pads around with them just so they can charge when they're out and about?

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: EU's just gonna make them...

        They have a cable with a little magnetic connector the size of a coin that attaches to the back of the phone. You'd carry that coin connector to USB-C cable instead of a Lightning to USB-C cable, not a mat.

  13. captain veg Silver badge

    I never understood

    How were Apple (uniquely) allowed to simply ignore the ITU-mandated UCS in the first place?

    -A.

    1. Alumoi Silver badge

      Re: I never understood

      Fiscal Year 2021 Profit $94.68 billion

      That's how.

  14. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Apple did not respond to The Register's request for comment. ®

    @El Reg: do you have that on a keyboard macro? Just askin', enquiring minds want to know!

    1. Fifth Horseman

      Re: Apple did not respond to The Register's request for comment. ®

      I'm not sure if this is still the case, but IIRC going back a few years, when Lester Haines was still around (RIP), Apple had a policy of refusing to acknowledge any inquiry from El Reg, so a macro here would be a good idea.

      This may of course be a Register Urban Legend...

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: Apple did not respond to The Register's request for comment. ®

        it is said the macro was added after losing 3 editors in quick succession holding their breath waiting for an answer...

    2. innominatus

      Re: Apple did not respond to The Register's request for comment. ®

      Just stick ADNRTTRRFC at the end of any Apple story? (Could it be auto-inserted if Apple appears in the article?)

  15. Danny 2

    Wireless Charging

    Nikola Tesla thought he could charge anything anywhere by sending the electricity through the ionosphere or through the earth. He could have done it too but he was distracted by a good looking pigeon. I don't think Elon Musk should be able to name electric cars after Tesla until he can charge them remotely.

    My dad left me his iPod but not his iPod charger. I have all his music on various devices anyway, he/I spent a year digitising his record collection via Audacity and a USB turntable. Never played any of it once, he couldn't remember the names.

  16. EnviableOne

    The Type C connector

    but the protocol will be all apple/intel colab Thunderbolt 4

  17. This Side Up

    Simplification?

    Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML "That means Apple fans who want to stop faffing around with extra proprietary Lightning charge cables should hold off purchasing the iPhone 14, which is slated to launch later this year. "

    On the other hand if you want all your Apple devices with the same connector get them now.

    The EU says it's aim is to simplify things. In reality it's doing the opposite:

    Now: Apple+Lightning

    Android+USB

    In future: Apple+Lightning (while it lasts)

    Apple+USB

    Android+USB

    Surely it would be better to standardise on the next generation with inductive charging and Bluetooth?

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