There’s been a lot of talk around Apple possibly ditching its Lightning connector for the more standard USB-C type connector. While there are certainly several benefits from a user’s viewpoint, it might not be in Apple’s best interests to do that.
Apple’s stand has always been to ‘think different’ from the crowd – it’s the Jobs DNA that courses through Apple’s veins. Their user interface speaks for itself, the phones are stunningly crafted, and they’ve seldom settled for ‘the usual’ in anything they did.
The Lightning connector is a very important part of the Apple device ecosystem, not only because of accessory compatibility, but also for the fact that it is proprietary and exclusive – both of which have been critical to Apple’s success so far.
So, while the whole world goes the way of the USB-C, the Lightning connector’s future with Apple actually seems more secure than ever.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo validates that:
“All three iPhones rumored to be launched in 2017 will retain Lightning connectors with the addition of USB-C Power Delivery for faster charging, including an all-new OLED model with a larger L-shaped battery and updated 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models.”
What does that actually mean? Does it imply that Apple will waste valuable phone space on two disparate ports? That’s not likely.
What’s likelier is that Apple could be working on a solution that brings the two together. In 2013, Apple applied for a patent on reversible I/O connector capable of multiple media types. And then, in 2014, Apple was granted a patent that showed a reversible USB connector that bears an unmistakable resemblance to what we now know as the USB-C standard.
So, replacing the Lighting is kind of out of the question right now because Apple has too much to lose. And multiple charging and data ports doesn’t sound like a practical solution either.
As it stands, there appear to be three routes Apple could take if they were, in fact, giving in to pressure from USB-C lovers: one, Apple could include a male Lightning to female USB-C adaptor with the phone; two, they could test out a USB-C on one of the other iPhones coming out – the 7s and the 7s Plus; or, three, they could be thinking of a completely different idea that allows it to embrace USB-C while retaining the crucial Lightning connector.
We’ll have to wait for the usual leak sources to see what Apple has in mind, but it’s very unlikely that Apple will give up Lightning over USB-C.
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