Just as iPhone owners have finally upgraded all their old 30-pin accessories to Lightning compatible hardware, a report in the Wall Street Journal suggests that Apple is getting ready to drop the port in favor of USB-C.
Apple introduced the Lightning connector back in September 2012 when it unveiled the iPhone 5, and since then it has become the standard port for all iOS devices. However, on the Mac front, it seems that Apple is shifting away from the MagSafe and Thunderbolt (as well as regular USB 2/3) to the USB-C port.
iOS devices have all thus far made use of proprietary connectors, so the shift would certainly be an odd one for Apple, especially considering that Apple pulls in money from licensing the Lightning port through its “Made for iPhone” program.
It’s also worth noting that the report only mentions the change happening on the $1,000+, 10th-anniversary iPhone 8, and not the lower-spec iPhone 7s and iPhone 7S Plus handsets, which are expected to be unveiled at the same time. This means that Apple would create a new division in its iPhone line, opening up the scope for new peripherals and apps, but also causing confusion and frustration by throwing a new port into the mix.
While it’s likely that Apple would bundle a USB-C to Lightning adapter with the iPhone 8 (yay, more dongles!) if it switches ports, it could still leave devices such as docks and car cradles incompatible with the iPhone 8.
It’s potentially a bold strategy for sure, perhaps indicating that Apple wants to create a separate “iPhone Pro” line. It also might herald Apple adding USB-C to the iPad, and thus taking the device more in the direction of being a more fully-featured tablet computer to compete with the likes of Microsoft’s Surface line.
But its adoption would also likely call into question how committed Apple is to the Lightning port, and that in turn, could have a detrimental effect on accessory sales.
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