iPhone 13 may not be portless after all, but have a brand new connector
Apple has just won a new patent from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office—and it's a new magnetic smart connector designed in several styles. There is no official announcement from Apple yet, but it could be safe to suspect that such a charger might be making its way into the new iPhone 13. Apple has previously used a similar type of connector in the iPad, designed to link to Apple's Smart Keyboard.
iPad Smart Keyboard Connector
On this new design, it will resemble a more regular-style charging port, different from the three holes for the Smart Keyboard.
We'd always thought the next iPhone generation was fairly likely to be portless, running on wireless charging only (for better or for worse). A while ago, top Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealed Apple's plan to remove all ports from the iPhone 13 Pro Max this year. More recently this year, an investor note was revealed from the same analyst claiming that this year's iPhone models will all keep their Lightning connector, rather than going USB-C or portless. Whether or not these reports were red herrings remains to be seen, after we receive some more concrete evidence from Apple. We already have the Qi-based MagSafe charger from Apple (proven to work on other phone brands as well), which shows they are looking to a wireless future to some degree.
If Apple does indeed choose to implement its patented magnetic smart connector into the iPhone 13, it might not be the end of the world. While it would be annoying to have to throw away all our Lightning cables (and of course, we can say goodbye to wired EarPods for good), it seems like such a connection may make chargers less susceptible to damage from bending—meaning you may no longer have to go through cables like nobody's business. From the patent photos, it looks like a hearty tug sideways on the cable may simply disconnect it rather than risk breaking the charger. The iPhone 13 is sure to be compatible with wireless charging, in any case, and we are waiting on Apple for further news.