It makes no sense for Apple to switch its iPhones away from Lightning to USB-C

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

Apple is said to be planning some big changes to the upcoming iPhone 8. By now, it's clear that the period of three years of unchanged iPhone design is coming to an end this year and Apple will introduce a radical new look for its new iPhone. A recent report by the usually very reliable Wall Street Journal and its customary 'people familar with the matter' unveils some welcome details around all that, but it also suggests an unexpected and surprising move: Apple switching away from the Lightning port that the company introduced with the iPhone 5 nearly five years ago and replacing it by the USB-C standard that is more universal and now increasingly common on laptops and higher-end Android phones. And we have some significant doubts that this particular part of the report is wrong and the reason is a simple misunderstanding on the part of the reporter.

Here is the curious part of the Wall Street Journal's report (emphasis ours):

This rather clumsy paragraph conveys a somewhat confusing message: it does not explicitly say that the new Apple iPhone will come with a USB-C port, but instead says that there will be new USB-C power cords, and then clearly suggests that this new USB-C cord will replace (notice the word 'instead') the Lightning connector. All of this leaves the reader with only one logical conclusion to make: Lightning is being replaced by USB-C on the iPhone itself. Weirdly, though, rather than directly saying this, author Takashi Mochizuki leaves it up to the reader to make such conclusions. Such lack of clarity is disturbing and suggests the author itself is not completely sure about this move. Furthermore, it lacks important specifics: would this change affect only the futuristic, curved-screen iPhone 8? Or is this coming to all three rumored new iPhones for 2017 (including the two cheaper and more traditional rumored iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus)?

While we do not have any inside sources about this, we have some other solid reasons for doubt. 

First, we know the following: Apple has been using the Lightning port on all of its iPhones since the iPhone 5 and on all iPads since the 4th gen iPad and the iPad mini. The 8-pin Lightning connector has been the universal standard for Apple mobile devices for years. So has it gotten old and outdated? Not really: Apple has just recently started supporting full USB 3.0 speeds via the Lightning connector on its 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Contrary to what this rumor suggests, in the past few months Apple has done the opposite of moving away from Lightning: it has embraced the connector even more closely. The company has just recently started equipping all of its millions of iPhone 7 and 7 Plus devices with Lightning-connected EarPods. It has made millions of Lightning connected Beats headphones. The new AirPods also rely on the Lightning connector for charging. Products like the Apple Pencil, the Apple TV, and many others all rely on the Lightning connector.

So is there even one area where Apple is actually using the USB-C connector? In fact, there is: its new Macbooks (both the airy 12-inch model and the new Pro ones) only feature USB-C ports. Apple clearly sees this as the new standard, only not for iOS devices, but for its Mac computers.

Many users were flabbergasted by this discrepancy: the new iPhone ships with a Lightning to USB-A cable, so it is impossible to hook it up to a new Mac. It is this exact dissonance that we think Apple is after fixing by shipping a new cable with the next iPhone, one where USB-C is not used on the iPhone side, but on the other end. So yes, the report might be right in saying that new iPhones will ship with a power cord that has a USB-C cord - we have no reasons to doubt WSJ's inside sources - but it will not replace Lightning, it will most likely replace the currently used USB-A connector on the other side.

reference: WSJ (behind paywall)



1. AlikMalix unregistered


32. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Yea, he literally stole mine and several comments in the original article regarding this and made a rather pointless article out of it.

2. liberalsnowflake

Posts: 273; Member since: Feb 24, 2017

I know why they are making the switch from lightning cable to type c. So that they can sue other android oem that how they copied their innovative USB type c technology and implemented on their android devices without paying them the licensing fees.

34. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Apple did not invent USB Type C. USB was invented by the collaboration of several OEM's that include Apple. If Apple had invented USB Type C, then why did they waste time and money to make the lightning port? Which for all intensive purposes, does the exact same thing? These company's invented USB Type C: ntel Seagate ACON AMD Agilent Technologies Apple Cypress Semiconductor Dell DisplayLink Electronics Testing Center Foxlink Google Granite River Labs HP Hirose Electric Co Japan Aviation Electronics Industry JPC/Main Super Inc LeCroy Corporation Lenovo Lotes Co LSI Coporation Luxshare-ICT MegaChips Corporation Microchip (SMSC) Microsoft MQP Electronics Nokia Renesas Electronics Rohm Samsung STMicroelectronics Tektronics Texas Instruments Tyco Electronics VIA Technologies The original Universal Serial Bus which was designed by: Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC and Nortel; was their standard cheaper costing alternative to what was Apple's own FireWire. The IEEE 1394 specification for FireWire is the only serial conenction Apple can lay 100% claim of invention and ownership. Factually it is the one an only thing Apple has EVER invented. Apple originally created FireWire to bring the same benefits of SCSI to the Mac without the cost of an expensive controller which SCSI required. Apple has NOTHING to do with USB in general. In fact Jobs despised USB and said FireWire would be the high bendwidth option of choice by all OEM's. Well that didn't happen. USB beat FireWire for several reasons. The controller was less costly to produce in large numbers. It also didn't require licensing like FireWire which adds more cost. It is a low level high bandwidth bus controller which allowed up to 127 devices to be powered/daisy-chain without bringing down the BUS speed. This is something FireWire and SCSI could not match. Because those options would take over the BUS to insure the data-path from source to source would not be corrupted or slowed and literally would take over the BUS causing other apps to freeze. Intel is the company that invented Thunderbolt. It was designed to offer all of the benefits of SCSI or FireWire which was a high bandwidth controller that allows for high traffic and uncompomised data, without the cons of SCSI like hogging all the computers bandwith. Intel solved that issue buy designing a controller which has its own memory and cache which allows for the controller to grabb lots of data and hold it a sit passes that data to the needed location with errors. Apple who didn't want to use standards because they can't make money, offered their own version which was Lightning. Again the same issue with Lightning is the same issue with FireWire. Licensing creates cost that most OEM's don't want, and Apple options always offers limited usage for the price. Thunderbolt is also faster than Apple's Lightning as it offers more lanes for data flow vs Lightning. The main reason USB Type C will succeed is it wasnt invented by Apple.

35. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Apple did not invent USB Type C. USB was invented by the collaboration of several OEM's that (DIDN'T) include Apple. Oh and Apple gets 100% credit for Lightning, though their idea was derived from seeing Thunderbolt.

7. AlikMalix unregistered

To be frank, one of the first (if not THE first) mass produced devices that came with USB-c that supported 3.1 speeds was MacBook, rather than Nokia N1 that had the design but only supported USB 2.0 speeds... Technically Apple did have the first mass-produced high profile device with USB-C - NOT ANDROID DEVICES... Software wise, Yosemite and Windows 8 (windows 8 after update) supported USB 3.1 in Mid-2014. While Chrome OS supported USB 3.1 and USB-C starting with the Chromebook Pixel sometime in 2015. And on Android, support came in October 2015 with Marshmallow (which most android devices didn't see until another year later). So Chill... no one gonna sue anyone...

10. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

MacBook had USB 3.0 speeds ( 5 Gbps ). It can technically be labelled as USB 3.1 gen 1, but that's just misdirectional marketing.

15. HillaryClinton2020

Posts: 192; Member since: Feb 08, 2017

Fandroid's Hate crime is getting serious recently, and they will hate everything Apple offer, if it's Android they will defend and praise it a good move

22. yyzamin

Posts: 383; Member since: Aug 26, 2015

Your not going to make any friends with that user name.

25. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Say the android hater...

27. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

You mean the same way apple fans do. Pot calling the kettle black

21. yyzamin

Posts: 383; Member since: Aug 26, 2015

Are you on drugs or are you just a terrible try hard troll?

3. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Dongles, thats why!

5. mikehunta727 unregistered

Butthurt Samsung sheep on notice now

17. TerryTerius unregistered

I... what does this have to do with Samsung?

29. DRS1977

Posts: 679; Member since: May 27, 2015

Why do you keep posting that all the time? Are you mentally challenged?

31. mikehunta727 unregistered

No I'm not one bit actually. Are you though? Because a inanimate object seems to be getting you quite upset It's for a scientific study on what can trigger people

36. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Because he is just trying to start a fight. Because he is an evil stupid troll who try to play both sides of the coin.

40. mikehunta727 unregistered

How does a joke start a fight lol? Stop being such a soft sensitive biased crazed fanboy for once How does one play "both sides of the coin"? You literally just tried to describe yourself here lol everyone on PA knows you are the least objective fanboy on this site who has spewed countless falsehoodw and you still on a daily basis spew out falsehoods and garble The difference between me and you is that I just actually love technology as a whole and inanimate objects dont cause me to write diabtribes on a daily basis like you do, I can actually call out the good and bad in any device or product objectively. My points that I mentioned in the past havent been refuted by anyone either All you do is try and out type the whole world with garble and try and overload everyone with your biased non objective opinions. Seems like you are still salty from the countless arguments of yours I have shut down very easily and the arguments of mine that you couldn't hold a feather to

43. Z.....

Posts: 355; Member since: Feb 01, 2017

Apple fanboy troll. Always looking starting a trouble and flaming... You never troll Apple .

44. mikehunta727 unregistered

Right... you mean like you with your 800th account? you on the other hand though... I have criticized Apple heavily plenty of times actually in the past, no company or product is perfect. Please know that

41. mikehunta727 unregistered

I am "evil" yet you have literally told people to die, people dying from their stupidity and along the lines of that etc on this site. You are the literal epitome of a troll, trying to then pass yourself as some top level tech expert, LOL

6. maherk

Posts: 7029; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I don't remember where I was reading an article about this, but it mentioned that Apple is moving to USB type C because of some legislations that forces phone makers to use a universal phone charger by 2017.

8. AlikMalix unregistered

I think it was a push by some European government/s a while back - but didn't succeed... (unless another recent push was announced)

9. maherk

Posts: 7029; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

As I recall, the law went through and the majority voted for it.

14. AlikMalix unregistered

I'm just basing this on the fact that world wide iPhones are still sold with Lightning. But I digress, Apple may have been given time to adopt it...

16. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Maherk, see this: That law takes effect as from 2017. That's why Apple is under obligation to ditch it's proprietary port and switch to a universal standard... otherwise, Apple won't be able to sell its iPhones in Europe.

19. TerryTerius unregistered

That just says a draft was passed and that it still has to get through the Council of Europe. Article doesn't say anything about a law being made. No idea if they did or didn't do that by now since that article is three years old, just saying.

23. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Well... you've got a point there. I see I misunderstood that article from Dailymail.

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