The Wall Street Journal recently made an article regarding that they believe the flagship 10th anniversary iPhone 8/X announced in September this year will have a USB-C port instead of a Lightning port.
Lightning has only been on iPhones since 2012 with the iPhone 5, so it makes sense as to why people are really annoyed with this, especially those that bought the iPhone 7 and got Lightning headphones to work with them and future iPhones.
If Apple were to replace Lightning with a USB-C connector, there would be a very good reason for doing so.
After all, Phil Schiller said back in 2012 when Lightning was introduced, said “This connector is a modern connector for the next decade”.
However, Phil Schiller had to say this when they introduced USB-C on the MacBook, suggesting it is the most versatile connector in a notebook but could say the same for iOS devices as well.
In this post, I’m going to highlight the Top 5 advantages of a USB-C connector being used instead of Lightning in the iPhone 8/X from a customer/end-user perspective.
5. Cheaper Accessories
One of the reasons people hate having to buy Apple Lightning accessories is because of the price.
In Australia for example, you can buy a Lightning Digital AV Adapter for AU$75.00 which allows you to do AirPlay Mirroring via a HDMI cable into the adapter with a separate power source.
Doing a quick search on eBay, I found an equivalent adapter with USB-C connectors, for $29, which is not only 61% cheaper in cost, but also supports 4K/2160p output whereas Apple’s current adapter supports 1080p. An equivalent 1080p USB-C adapter is about $17 on eBay.
Yes Apple would likely sell the same accessories with the USB-C connector at similar prices, but there is no need to buy the Apple branded stuff to get the jobs done, unless you’re not sure what you’re doing.
This scenario could also be applied to things like charging cases, power banks and more.
4. Reversible USB-C to USB-C Cable
With Apple’s MacBooks, they include USB-C chargers that come with non-attached USB-C cables.
One of the advantages of this setup is if you break one part of it, you can replace that part and not the entire thing, which is the same with iPhones but think of this setup on a smaller scale.
What I’m saying is that Apple would likely bundle a USB-C charging adapter and a USB-C to USB-C connector, but since it’ll be Male USB-C to Male USB-C, you can plug it in either way.
At the moment you have to make sure you have the Lightning connector and not the USB-A end of the cable to plug into the phone, then plug the USB-A into the charger at the other end (which you have to plug in the right way round like all USB-A/B devices), so this means you can plug the cable in any way possible and it’ll work. #firstworldproblems
3. Fast Charging
I have a weird suspicion that we have not seen Fast Charging on iPhones and iPads yet is because Lightning is not really capable of doing this.
If it were capable, you’d think Apple would of provided say an iPad charger with an iPhone and all would be set and done, but maybe they can get better charging times with the fast charging approach via USB-C, making it a more marketable advantage to end-users.
2. True Headphone Connector Standard
It wasn’t long before the iPhone 7 launch, that Intel came out saying that USB-C can handle an audio-only connection, positioning it as the digital successor to the analogue 3.5mm headphone jack.
Apple probably didn’t include the USB-C connector in the iPhone 7, likely due to all of this available tech coming far too late in the development cycle to build enough units for launch.
Intel said software updates would make USB-C perfect for headphones with an update by the end of 2016 and Intel came out saying this just 2-3 weeks before the iPhone 7 launch, when Apple’s likely already made 10 million handsets to sell at the launch.
For people that in the future buy USB-C connected headphones, if they change phone platform or computers etc. they will still work with that device.
1. Cross Compatibility
To me and everyone in the tech community, this is the obvious reason to support change to USB-C.
I mean for goodness sakes, Nintendo who also make proprietary connector for their Nintendo DS, 3DS and Wii U, have for the Nintendo Switch included a USB-C connector for charging on the bottom of the screen itself.
Android manufacturers are all switching to a USB-C connector for charging, accessories and data syncing purposes starting with the late Samsung Galaxy Note 7. #RestInPeace
Apple’s Macs are transitioning slowly to only USB-C connections starting with the MacBook and most recently with the MacBook Pro.
Windows computers are starting to include at the very least 1 USB-C port on them.
The point I am trying to make is that you can use just one charging cable to charge your computer, your phone and your portable gaming consoles. This is a tech-head’s dream come true especially if they own and use multiple devices across multiple platforms regularly if not daily.
In short, I am in support of change to USB-C for the iPhone 8/X but will not be surprised if Apple sticks with the Lightning connector, mainly from an Apple making money perspective, especially through their Made For iPhone (MFi) program.
So what do you all think. Will Apple transition to USB-C for iOS devices? Will Apple bring it to the iPhone or iPad first? Leave a comment below or tweet me @neilh_apps.