What if Apple ditched Lightning and went to USB-C for future iPhone/iPad/iPod devices?

in Future Apple Hardware edited April 2015

There would be much groaning, but there would be a lot of upsides too:


- 1 charging cable - be it a MacBook, or any iOS device. USB-C hub for multiple devices. 

- 1 power adapter when traveling (take the biggest one you have)

- 1 adapter for AV out, i.e. 1 for HDMI / DisplayPort, 1 for VGA

- 1 adapter for legacy (USB 1, 2 and 3 devices) - would double as one of the "iPad Camera adapter" cables

- 1 adapter for SD - would rid Neil Hughes of his complaint, and would double as the other "iPad Camera adapter" cable

- Future-proofing for a long time: USB 3.1 is 10Gbit/sec? Supports 5K or maybe 8K displays? 100W? 


I think the upsides would greatly outweigh the downsides and the complaints. Plus, nobody could accuse Apple of using a proprietary cable again. Maybe they would make the highest quality USB-C to AV out adapters, etc. Maybe they'd become the industry standard. 


  • Reply 1 of 3
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member

    What are the special benefits of Lightning?


    It's a little bit smaller, sure, and the solid metal tongue looks to be a bit more robust than the USB 3.1 connector*, but those don't strike me as particularly "special", just "nice".



    * Apple cables are a different matter.

  • Reply 2 of 3
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    I was actually addressing this in another thread someplace, but on the iPad i think it is a requirement to drive adoption. There is a caveat though, Apple needs to open up iOS so that developers can use the port without the need to enter into the MiFi program. MiFI is a massive limitation on the iPad, far more so than on the iPhone. iPad could find itself in all sorts of use cases if the user/developer didn't have to enter into the MiFi program for limited interest products. I'm thinking consumer, research and commercial uses here.

    Right now there is far less of a hill to climb to use more open products like a PC or Mac. In fact the obstacles Apple puts in the way means that iPad is never even considered for many uses.
  • Reply 3 of 3
    colinngcolinng Posts: 116member
    I’ve done a 180 on the issue, so here are the upsides of Lightning:

    Its probably the best connector ever designed for the “real world”: 
    - contaminant resistant (waterproof, dust-proof, sand proof, and you can wipe off almost any other contaminant imaginable)
    - resilient to blunt force trauma (incorrect angle of insertion, blunt insertion force, cord pull extraction, incorrect angle of extraction)
    - in massive trauma, the less expensive side gets damaged (the cord, or the Apple Pencil)
    - it is upgradeable if the need arises; currently the two sides mirror each other, but with some clever hardware, the other side could be used as well, providing 8 more pins. Though this is unlikely to be needed. 

    Although USB-C is reversible, it’s physical contacts are fragile and prone to contamination and water damage, compared to Lightning. 

    Even if Apple wanted to offer Lightning as the USB-D connector, I don’t think they could for several reasons:
    - can’t carry 100W? Or maybe they can. Wish I was an EE. Or maybe they can but not when also providing Thunderbolt connections (USB-C has 24 pins). 
    - the industry probably would not agree to authentication chips (which provide much needed assurance of quality in this age where fake products can be found even in common providers like Amazon). 

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