Ap­ple is never switch­ing from Light­ning to USB-C in the iphone

Se­ri­ously, stop with these ru­mors al­ready.

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - BY MICHAEL SI­MON

Since it had been sev­eral days without an iphone ru­mor ( go. mac­world.com/i18r), Dig­itimes piped up in mid-june ( go.mac­world.com/iusc) with a pur­ported sala­cious scoop about next year’s iphone. Ac­cord­ing to the site, Ap­ple “will likely have its 2019 se­ries of iphones come with USB Type-c sup­port,” re­plac­ing the nearly six-year-old Light­ning port.

In that time be­tween Light­ning’s ar­rival in 2012 and the up­com­ing 2018 iphones, USB-C has risen to a po­si­tion of promi­nence on many of Ap­ple’s prod­ucts. It’s a main­stay on Ap­ple’s Macbook, Macbook Pro, and imac com­put­ers, and nearly ev­ery An­droid phone maker has adopted the sym­met­ri­cal port as the

charg­ing so­lu­tion on its hand­sets. USB-C is vastly su­pe­rior to all other forms of USB, and it comes as no sur­prise that it’s taken over the finicky mi­crousb and lessver­sa­tile USB 3.1 ports on phones and PCS.

But this isn’t the first time this ru­mor has cir­cu­lated and it’s no more cred­i­ble now than it was then. Last year, The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported ( go.mac­world.com/cvsc) that the as-yet-un­named iphone X would use a “USB-C port for the power cord and other pe­riph­eral de­vices in­stead of the com­pany’s orig­i­nal Light­ning con­nec­tor.” That turned out to be false (as did its pre­dic­tion that the iphone X would have an out­wardly curved screen).

Granted, Ap­ple does sell a Light­ning–to– USB-C adapter in its store ( go.mac­world. com/bylc), but the cable in the iphone X’s box was the same Light­ning–to–usb 2.0 cable as the iphones 8, 7, 6, and 5. I’m not go­ing to de­bate the mer­its of The Wall Street Jour­nal’s ver­sus Dig­itimes’s sources, but let’s just say I be­lieve this new re­port even less than that one. And I didn’t be­lieve that one at all. And while as a part-time An­droid user I would love, love, love it to be true, it’s not go­ing to hap­pen. Ever. One more time: Ap­ple is never go­ing to re­place the

Light­ning port on the iphone with USB-C.

A BOLT OF LIGHT­NING

When Ap­ple switched from the 30-pin dock con­nec­tor to Light­ning back in 2012 ( go.mac­world.com/lt12), it cre­ated quite the stir. Light­ning’s ben­e­fits were ob­vi­ous—it was smaller, thin­ner, and re­versible, was back­ward-com­pat­i­ble (with an adapter), could de­liver higher wattage for charg­ing, and could send data at faster speeds. And we all knew that Ap­ple couldn’t hang on to the clumsy 30-pin ipod con­nec­tor for­ever, and all things con­sid­ered, the tran­si­tion was smart and mostly pain­less.

Ap­ple was way ahead of the curve with Light­ning. While the rest of the in­dus­try was still in the ex­ploratory phase with USB-C back in 2012, Ap­ple not only saw the ben­e­fit of a re­versible cable, but un­der­stood the power and speed de­mands that fu­ture phones would have. Light­ning was so far ahead of its time, USB-C is only now, six years later, bring­ing that level of con­ve­nience and ver­sa­til­ity to a ma­jor­ity of An­droid phones and Chrome­books. Even Mi­crosoft’s Sur­face Pro ( go.mac­world.com/mp17) is still us­ing full-sized USB ports.

But while Ap­ple may be us­ing USB-C on its lap­tops and charg­ers, I’m com­fort­able in say­ing it will never come to iphones. Sure, it would be nice to carry one cable that can charge all of your de­vices, but oth­er­wise there’s no ad­van­tage to Ap­ple or iphone users in switch­ing. To use an enor­mous gen­er­al­ity, USB-C is ba­si­cally the ev­ery­thing-else

ver­sion of Light­ning. They both have re­versible plugs. They both trans­fer data and power at high speeds. And they’re both small and thin. The only rea­son to switch is to make the iphone like ev­ery other phone, and if you haven’t no­ticed, Ap­ple isn’t afraid of pro­pri­etary tech.

NO USB-C CHANGE

Hon­estly, I can think of more ar­gu­ments against switch­ing to USB-C than for it.

Such a dra­matic change would re­quire Ap­ple VP Phil Schiller to get on stage and sell the new port to Ap­ple’s most die-hard cus­tomers, and there isn’t a sin­gle rea­son I can think of as to why he would tout USB-C as bet­ter than Light­ning, even when I run it though the Re­al­ity Dis­tor­tion Field. The only pos­si­ble ex­pla­na­tion would be to carry one less cable, but you need look no fur­ther than the Macbook’s fam­ily of don­gles to see that Ap­ple doesn’t re­ally care about that.

Thirty-pin to Light­ning, USB 3 to USB-C, even 3.5mm to Blue­tooth, I can un­der­stand Ap­ple’s line of think­ing, even if I don’t agree with it. But Light­ning to USB-C is at best a lat­eral pass, at worst a ca­pit­u­la­tion to the rest of the in­dus­try that Ap­ple’s pro­pri­etary path is the wrong one to take. Plus, USB-C is a mil­lime­ter or two thicker than Light­ning, so it would take up more room on the iphone, a move that is anath­ema to Ap­ple.

Now, I’m will­ing to ad­mit that it’s pos­si­ble that Ap­ple goes with USB-C on the ipad, given Ap­ple’s ideas for the tablet, but even that seems un­likely. IOS and Light­ning go to­gether like peas and car­rots, and I can’t imag­ine that chang­ing any­time soon. If Ap­ple ever moves away from Light­ning it will either be for some­thing even thin­ner or to go full wire­less. And un­til then, we’ll just have to carry two ca­bles around wher­ever we go.

This won’t be the last time this ru­mor sur­faces. But next time, re­mem­ber these words: It’s not hap­pen­ing. Ever. ■

Thirty-pin to Light­ning, USB 3 to USB-C, even 3.5mm to Blue­tooth, I can un­der­stand Ap­ple’s line of think­ing, even if I don’t agree with it.

USB-C is great for An­droid phones like the Galaxy S9 but it has no place on an iphone.

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