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Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal issued a report citing “inside sources,” who claimed that Apple would be swapping out its proprietary Lightning port with a USB-C port on this year’s 10th anniversary iPhone 8 flagship, which would enable faster charging and data syncing via the new ‘universal standard’. Given the questionable nature of that report, perhaps it comes as little surprise that in his research note this morning, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo officially quashed any hope of such a transition taking place — confirming that Apple would, in fact, be retaining the Lightning standard for many more years to come.
Kuo notes that instead of outright replacing Lightning with USB-C, Apple would be upgrading its next generation iPhone lineup — the iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, and OLED-equipped iPhone 8— with next-generation internal components boasting fast charging capabilities. Specifically, Apple will change the internal component array, which will feature next-generation chips provided by Texas Instruments and Cypress, to usher in a fast charging infrastructure that would bring the 2017 iPhone family’s charging speed up to par with USB-C.
USB-C (v3.1), unlike the larger, rectangular USB-A ports that are so common among devices today, is capable of providing faster data syncing capabilities. However, as Kuo notes, while USB-C would inherently enable faster data transfer speeds than current USB-A (v3.0) via Lightning, the advancements are currently insufficient for Apple to justify changing connectors, altogether — citing that the difference constitutes a “niche application” for Apple’s iPhone.
Kuo goes on to address two key reasons why Apple would be best served refraining from such a transition to USB-C: first and foremost, to sustain royalties from the company’s vast and far-reaching Lightning accessories ecosystem; and second, to ensure the company’s leverage in maintaining the most compact form factor possible for the iPhone. A USB-C connector, while smaller in dimension than USB-A, is still much larger than Apple’s Lightning connector — and therefore, retaining Lightning would give Apple more breathing room to incorporate a reconfigured internal component layout from which fast charging can be implemented.
Reflecting on The Wall Street Journal report, Kuo also noted it could very well be that Apple decides to include a Lightning to USB-C cable — as opposed to USB-A — coupled with a reconfigured AC wall adapter. In this way, the cable would bode quite favorably with users of Apple’s most recent Mac computers — which have adopted a 100% USB-C/Thunderbolt port configuration. Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro, as well as the 12-inch MacBook, for instance, already feature this setup — and so we should expect similar transitions to take place in the coming months and years, especially on all those great new Mac computers that Tim Cook has been hooting and hollering about.
As for Apple’s next round of iPhones: we should expect three of them, including two ‘iPhone 7s’ upgrades, as well as the $1,000 ‘iPhone 8’ flagship — colloquially referred to as ‘iPhone X’ — to be formally unveiled later on this fall.
Images: © Copyright 2017 iPhone 8 Concept Exclusive, iDrop News. Attribution required. Do not modify.