Opinion: iPhone 8 Is Unlikely to Come with a USB-C Port


iPhone 8 Function bar Concept

A couple of days back, Wall Street Journal reported that Apple will release two models with traditional LCD screen and a third high-end model with an OLED screen.

The report was in line with rumors we have heard so far, which indicate that Apple will launch a high-end iPhone model which will come with a display closer to the size of an iPhone 7 Plus but with physical dimensions similar to that of the smaller iPhone 7. I think Apple will call the $1,000 OLED iPhone model “iPhone Pro”, and the LCD models iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Interestingly, though the report also claimed that Apple will replace Lightning port with USB-C. Here’s the excerpt from Wall Street Journal:

They said Apple would introduce other updates including a USB-C port for the power cord and other peripheral devices, instead of the company’s original Lightning connector. The models would also do away with a physical home button, they said. Those updates would give the iPhone features already available on other smartphones.

The report doesn’t clearly state whether the high-end OLED model will come with the USB-C port instead of the Lightning port, or all three models will come with the USB-C port.

If this rumor turns out to be true then it would be great news, as many of us are waiting for the day when we just need a single type of charger to charge our phones (iPhone and Android phones), MacBooks and iPads.

But, while it would be great to see Apple adopting a common standard (for once), I don’t think Apple will be switching to USB-C anytime soon. If they really wanted to switch to USB-C, they would have done it last year rather than shipping millions of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus units with Lightning ear buds, only to require a dongle again to use them after a year. They also won’t have shipped the AirPods, which Tim Cook says has become a cultural phenomenon, with a Lightning port. Unlike other companies, Apple thinks long term. It introduced the Lightning port back in 2012, with the intention of getting rid of the headphone jack in the future, which they did last year. Apple would have probably received a lot less backlash for getting rid of the headphone jack if they had switched to USB-C. So as John Gruber of Daring Fireball mentioned, Apple is likely to stick with the Lightning connector until it can do away with external ports entirely, we like it or not.

However, what is more likely to happen is, the 2017 iPhones will ship with USB-C charger that comes with a USB-C to Lightning cable, so you can use it to also connect the iPhone to the new MacBook Pros rather than needing a $25 dongle. Apple should have done it last year itself.

Update:

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a good track record when it comes to Apple’s future product plans based on his supply chain sources, also believes that all three iPhone 8 models will feature a Lightning connector. He goes on to add that the devices will support USB Power Delivery for fast charging, which is in line with what I was saying though I had not thought of the fast charging bit. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro already supports USB 3.0 speed and fast charging via a USB-C to Lightning cable.

So I expect all three iPhone 8 models to come with a Lightning port and ship with a USB-C charger that comes with USB-C to Lightning cable for the fast charging feature. It looks like Wall Street Journal misunderstood their sources.

What do you think? Would you bet on Apple switching from Lightning to USB-C? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Related Topics: Featured, iPhone 8, iPhone Pro