RIP Lightning Cables? | Apple Is Expected to Go All-in on USB-C by 2024

It won’t be long before we see the Lightning port disappear entirely.
iPhone Charging Cable Lightning Credit: Apirut Sir / Shutterstock
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With Apple expected to shift from the Lightning to USB-C on the iPhone as early as next year’s “iPhone 15,” it won’t be long before we see the Lightning port disappear entirely.

Two reliable reports last week from different inside sources revealed that Apple could be ready to ditch the Lightning port once and for all with the 2023 iPhone lineup. The initial news came from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who surveyed Apple’s suppliers and found that they were preparing to handle a much larger quantity of USB-C components.

This was confirmed a few days later when Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said his sources had told him that Apple is testing a USB-C iPhone for a possible 2023 release.

If Apple’s flagship device does indeed move to USB-C, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that the rest of its accessory ecosystem would follow suit. After all, it doesn’t make much sense to keep a Lightning charging port on things like AirPods or MagSafe chargers if the iPhone is no longer using that connector.

While Apple has always used Lightning ports in most of its accessories, that’s mainly to maintain compatibility with what its customers are already using. Since the iPhone uses a Lightning port, it makes sense for folks to be able to charge their AirPods or MagSafe battery pack with the same cable.

By contrast, Apple’s Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro (and later iPad Air) used a USB-C port since it was designed for an iPad model that also used a USB-C port.

Of course, that’s not universally true. It’s arguably less logical for Apple to put Lightning ports on its Mac accessories, such as Mac keyboards, trackpads, and mice — especially when the Macs they’re connected to all now support USB-C.

However, if there was any doubt that the move to USB-C on the “iPhone 15” would lead to a wholesale switch to USB-C, Kuo has confirmed that everything else will switch to USB-C “in the foreseeable future.”

This doesn’t mean Apple would necessarily release new versions of existing products just to switch the port over to USB-C. However, as each of Apple’s products is refreshed naturally, the new ones would sport USB-C ports instead of Lightning.

For example, the AirPods Max wouldn’t be updated to use a USB-C port, but a second or third-generation version of the headphones would make the switch to USB-C. The only real question would be whether Apple does this before or after a new iPhone is released with a USB-C port.

Almost the entire iPad lineup has already moved to USB-C. The outlier is Apple’s entry-level iPad, but it’s fair to say this would quickly follow suit in a future update, along with the next-generation iPhone SE.

Kuo’s tweet also confirmed what we noted last week: that the world isn’t ready for a portless iPhone due to the current limitations of wireless technologies and the “immature MagSafe ecosystem.”

Ironically, even if Apple were to produce an iPhone with no physical ports, there would still need to be a physical wired connection somewhere in the chain. Something still needs to be plugged in, whether that’s a MagSafe charger or a CarPlay adapter. So, one way or another, Apple still has to address the port it uses for this, and for the most part, it’s already using USB-C on the other end anyway.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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