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Apple poked a hornet’s nest when it removed the standard headphone jack from the iPhone 7. It may do it again by replacing the Lightning port with USB-C in the next iPhone.
The Lightning port, introduced in 2012, is used to charge and connect accessories to the iPhone, but Apple plans to swap it for USB-C, which the company has been introducing into its computer lines, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
“It would be a bold step for Apple, because it would mean Apple would be dependent on the advance of the USB-C standard for any innovations they may want to make around physical connectors,” said IHS Markit Senior Director Ian Fogg.
In the past, Apple chose to use its own home-brewed connectors for the iPhone — first its dock connector, then Lightning.
“Both of them allowed Apple to innovate more quickly than the industry because they weren’t dependent on standards,” Fogg told TechNewsWorld, “and it enabled them to have a business model around accessories through third-party companies, where Apple could ensure quality and collect a license fee.”
USB-C: Good and Bad
It’s not likely that Apple will scrap the Lightning connector, said David McQueen, a research director at ABI Research.
“They’d only put USB-C in if it allows them to make the phone thinner,” he told TechNewsWorld.
“A standard connector would be better, because you could share the cables for it with the new MacBook and with other devices,” noted Kevin Krewell, a principal analyst at Tirias Research.
“That’s a good thing,” he said.
“The bad thing is you have to buy another cable,” Krewell told TechNewsWorld.
Apple will unveil three new iPhones in September, based on reports corroborated by the WSJ. The expected models are an iPhone 7s, a 7s Plus, and a 10th anniversary edition called “iPhone 8” or “X,” which could have a curved 5.8-inch OLED display.