Why Apple won't ditch Lightning for USB-C on 'iPhone 8'

Posted:
in iPhone edited May 2017
Despite some advantages for USB-C over Lightning, Apple is likely to stick with its own protocol for the foreseeable future. AppleInsider takes a closer look at some of the factors behind retention of Lightning, as well as areas where it has a leg up on USB-C.








For more reviews, news, tips, features and more, subscribe to AppleInsider on YouTube. The article that the video was based on was published on May 7.

We're also interested in your questions about what we expect from the "iPhone 8," Lightning, USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, and even the old 30-pin connector! Chime in on our forums, and we'll address it.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    Why would anyone think Apple would get rid of Lightning?
    pscooter63magman1979watto_cobraredgeminipaMetriacanthosaurus
  • Reply 2 of 43
    indieshackindieshack Posts: 317member
    Soli said:
    Why would anyone think Apple would get rid of Lightning?
    Because lightning connectors fail badly over time, USB-C is MUCH more resilient - of course Apple won't change that since it makes a bucket of cash licensing lightning connectors. {{...and cue Apple fanboys...}}
    edited May 2017 pulseimages
  • Reply 3 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    Soli said:
    Why would anyone think Apple would get rid of Lightning?
    Because lightning connectors fail badly over time, USB-C is MUCH more resilient
    Even if that was true, why would that be a reason you'd think Apple would get rid of Lightning, not just a reason you want Apple to get rid of Lightning?
    edited May 2017 pscooter63MacProwatto_cobraredgeminipaStrangeDaysMetriacanthosaurus
  • Reply 4 of 43
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,995member
    Looking at a blow-up picture of the USB-C 3.1 female port, it looks significantly more vulnerable to getting clogged with dirt/lint/gunk than does Lightning. Plus the female USB-C 3.1 port has a tongue (clitoris?) in the middle that might be easily damaged or broken off, thus rendering the device in an irreversibly nonfunctional state as mentioned in the video. This might not be such an issue for a MacBook Pro as it could be for a smartphone that's frequently stashed in a pocket or purse.
    http://www.usb-c-31.com/images/345dip-products.png
    edited May 2017 pulseimagesmagman1979watto_cobraredgeminipalongpath
  • Reply 5 of 43
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,957member
    Soli said:
    Why would anyone think Apple would get rid of Lightning?
    Because lightning connectors fail badly over time, USB-C is MUCH more resilient - of course Apple won't change that since it makes a bucket of cash licensing lightning connectors. {{...and cue Apple fanboys...}}
    Quit making stuff up.  USB-C is still in its infancy and is only now being implemented sparingly on Windows PC's.  Therefore you have ZERO clue how durable USBc is in the long run.

    iHaters just like you only prove the status quo.  Come back when you reach adulthood.
    pulseimagesbaconstangmacplusplusrandominternetpersonMacPromagman1979watto_cobraredgeminipaStrangeDaysMetriacanthosaurus
  • Reply 6 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    sflocal said:
    Soli said:
    Why would anyone think Apple would get rid of Lightning?
    Because lightning connectors fail badly over time, USB-C is MUCH more resilient - of course Apple won't change that since it makes a bucket of cash licensing lightning connectors. {{...and cue Apple fanboys...}}
    Quit making stuff up.  USB-C is still in its infancy and is only now being implemented sparingly on Windows PC's.  Therefore you have ZERO clue how durable USBc is in the long run.

    iHaters just like you only prove the status quo.  Come back when you reach adulthood.
    And have you ever had the pins of a Lightning connector wear out? I haven't. I've had the cable wear out, but that's something entirely different than having an issue with the connector.
    baconstangwatto_cobraredgeminipaGeorgeBMacStrangeDays
  • Reply 7 of 43
    georgie01georgie01 Posts: 420member
    Soli said:
    Why would anyone think Apple would get rid of Lightning?
    Because lightning connectors fail badly over time, USB-C is MUCH more resilient - of course Apple won't change that since it makes a bucket of cash licensing lightning connectors. {{...and cue Apple fanboys...}}
    To add to others' replies...

    While Apple certainly milks licensing fees for iDevice connectors, I don't think licensing fees is where it starts. I think if Apple believes that a custom protocol/connector is best for the job they'll design it and then charge a nice licensing fee. I don't think they first want a licensing fee and then design a protocol/connector to get those fees. I have little doubt that if Apple felt USB-C was better enough than lightning they'd switch without hesitation.
    randominternetpersonradarthekatwatto_cobraredgeminiparetrogusto
  • Reply 8 of 43
    It seems fairly clear given the direction of things that Lightning is the last port that the iPhone will ever have, and that in a few years' time Apple will ditch Lightning for no ports at all and long range wireless charging. Even then, of course, they'll leave a little connector for diagnostics like the one hidden in the strap slot of the Apple Watch, or a smart connector-type thing. But Jony Ive is going to want to seal up the body of the iPhone, leaving no unsightly ports, as soon as he has the chance.
    edited May 2017 vukasikaradarthekatwatto_cobraredgeminipalongpathMetriacanthosaurus
  • Reply 9 of 43
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,102member
    Soli said:
    Why would anyone think Apple would get rid of Lightning?
    Because lightning connectors fail badly over time, USB-C is MUCH more resilient - of course Apple won't change that since it makes a bucket of cash licensing lightning connectors. {{...and cue Apple fanboys...}}
    The only ones that "fail badly" for me have been all the cheap cables on Amazon, which invariably have all quickly stopped working, usually by the connector bending/breaking where it connects to the cable within the plug. All garbage. Apple's are fine IMHO, I've had a ton and few, maybe one(?) has actually broken on me. Been trying a few better 3rd parties like Anker with better results than the generic ones.

    I think all the speculation over USB-C came from a rumor that I *think* was actually about whether they'd switch the USB-A end of the Lightning cables to USB-C and got lost in translation. While I'm sure they've looked at it, I doubt there was ever any serious discussion as to whether to replace Lightning itself with USB-C.
    pscooter63randominternetpersonwatto_cobraredgeminipaStrangeDays
  • Reply 10 of 43
    vukasikavukasika Posts: 97member
    It seems fairly clear given the direction of things that Lightning is the last port that the iPhone will ever have, and that in a few years' time Apple will ditch Lightning for no ports at all and long range wireless charging. Even then, of course, they'll leave a little connector for diagnostics like the one hidden in the strap slot of the Apple Watch, or a smart connector-type thing. But Jony Ive is going to want to seal up the body of the iPhone, leaving no unsightly ports, as soon as he has the chance.
    My thoughts exactly.  So what if the next iPhone has lightning connector.  It sounds like we are close to a a wireless charging format in the next 1-2 years.
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 43
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,483member
    It seems fairly clear given the direction of things that Lightning is the last port that the iPhone will ever have, and that in a few years' time Apple will ditch Lightning for no ports at all and long range wireless charging. Even then, of course, they'll leave a little connector for diagnostics like the one hidden in the strap slot of the Apple Watch, or a smart connector-type thing. But Jony Ive is going to want to seal up the body of the iPhone, leaving no unsightly ports, as soon as he has the chance.
    I would suspect you are correct.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 43
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,483member

    Soli said:
    Why would anyone think Apple would get rid of Lightning?
    Because lightning connectors fail badly over time, USB-C is MUCH more resilient - of course Apple won't change that since it makes a bucket of cash licensing lightning connectors. {{...and cue Apple fanboys...}}
    The only ones that "fail badly" for me have been all the cheap cables on Amazon, which invariably have all quickly stopped working, usually by the connector bending/breaking where it connects to the cable within the plug. All garbage. Apple's are fine IMHO, I've had a ton and few, maybe one(?) has actually broken on me. Been trying a few better 3rd parties like Anker with better results than the generic ones.

    I think all the speculation over USB-C came from a rumor that I *think* was actually about whether they'd switch the USB-A end of the Lightning cables to USB-C and got lost in translation. While I'm sure they've looked at it, I doubt there was ever any serious discussion as to whether to replace Lightning itself with USB-C.
    True.  Sadly, as I love Amazon generally, all the so called Apple product from Amazon (except the genuine articles) are crap.  
  • Reply 13 of 43
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,102member
    MacPro said:

    Soli said:
    Why would anyone think Apple would get rid of Lightning?
    Because lightning connectors fail badly over time, USB-C is MUCH more resilient - of course Apple won't change that since it makes a bucket of cash licensing lightning connectors. {{...and cue Apple fanboys...}}
    The only ones that "fail badly" for me have been all the cheap cables on Amazon, which invariably have all quickly stopped working, usually by the connector bending/breaking where it connects to the cable within the plug. All garbage. Apple's are fine IMHO, I've had a ton and few, maybe one(?) has actually broken on me. Been trying a few better 3rd parties like Anker with better results than the generic ones.

    I think all the speculation over USB-C came from a rumor that I *think* was actually about whether they'd switch the USB-A end of the Lightning cables to USB-C and got lost in translation. While I'm sure they've looked at it, I doubt there was ever any serious discussion as to whether to replace Lightning itself with USB-C.
    True.  Sadly, as I love Amazon generally, all the so called Apple product from Amazon (except the genuine articles) are crap.  
    Anything pretending to be Apple or MFi-certified that are not are fraudulent and should be reported as such. I believe it was reported not too long ago that Amazon was going to start cracking down on at least the counterfeit Apple-"branded" stuff. Any other accessories are buyer beware, especially with the fake reviews out there, which I understand Amazon is also working on. I don't blame Amazon any more than I'd blame Ebay or other marketplace where goods from all sorts of vendors are sold.

    From experience though, I've been going with known brands, or vendors who tend to not sell garbage and/or have a decent return policy — OWC/NewerTech just replaced one of my 10' lightning cables that recently failed (at the cable meets connector point, not the connector itself), turns out they have a 5 year warranty. Chatted with someone for a couple mins, gave them my order #, and they mailed me a new one.
  • Reply 14 of 43
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,102member

    georgie01 said:
    Soli said:
    Why would anyone think Apple would get rid of Lightning?
    Because lightning connectors fail badly over time, USB-C is MUCH more resilient - of course Apple won't change that since it makes a bucket of cash licensing lightning connectors. {{...and cue Apple fanboys...}}
    To add to others' replies...

    While Apple certainly milks licensing fees for iDevice connectors, I don't think licensing fees is where it starts. I think if Apple believes that a custom protocol/connector is best for the job they'll design it and then charge a nice licensing fee. I don't think they first want a licensing fee and then design a protocol/connector to get those fees. I have little doubt that if Apple felt USB-C was better enough than lightning they'd switch without hesitation.
    I see the MFi certification and licensing as more of a quality/safety control thing than anything else. Look at the cases of electrocution with the cheap knockoff chargers for motivation as to why.

    The insinuation that Apple plots the connector/dongle situations to make money is pretty funny. "Fanboy" or not the money involved is probably a rounding error to Apple. I remember when they switched to Lightning on the 5 and my friend was all, "See, that's how they get you!" — to which I pointed at his iPhone and said, "No, THAT'S how they get you."
    retrogustoStrangeDaysMetriacanthosaurus
  • Reply 15 of 43
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,669member
    Soli said:
    Why would anyone think Apple would get rid of Lightning?
    Because lightning connectors fail badly over time, USB-C is MUCH more resilient - of course Apple won't change that since it makes a bucket of cash licensing lightning connectors. {{...and cue Apple fanboys...}}

    I've been using lightning since it first appeared on the 5.  And I have lots of phones and iPads that I am constantly unplugging and plugging back on.  None of my lightning cables have failed except on the cable part itself where it joins the back part of the connector  housing.  (Except a few knockoff parameters cable ones I ended up with).  It is very resilient.

    The rumor I heard is that the internal part inside the phone will switch from USB2 to USB C but the actual connector will remain lightning 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 43
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    Apple should use standards and stop using proprietary and soldered components in all devices.
  • Reply 17 of 43
    cubefancubefan Posts: 53member
    appex said:
    Apple should use standards and stop using proprietary and soldered components in all devices.
    I think you'll find Apple an early adopter, pioneer and supporter of industry standards - USB on first iMac  and Lightning to name but two.  Not only that, Apple's support for standards and interoperability is often far more complete than any other technology vendor I've come across in the thirty eight years I've been using computers..

    Contrast that with Cisco who develop a proprietary protocol to gain market advantage and then put it forwards as a 'standard' when they've exploited the market advantage for two years and use their size and clout to make it a 'standard'.

    Every vendor uses soldered components and the only bits that are proprietary are the ones that give Apple a technological lead - Apple doesn't own Intel, or the ARM architecture - but it exploits its abilities to develop ARM based chipsets to get improved performance at lower power - we don't care what's inside - it runs iOS, also based on BSD Unix but with better eye candy.

    If you print anything from Linux or MacOs or any Unix O/S, chances are it runs through a software stack called CUPS, CUPS runs on every Mac to provide the print services for MacOS which is BSD Unix derived, to find out, point your browser at localhost:631.  Who owns CUPS development?  Apple.

    I've never had a decent Lightning cable break.
    So your statement is, er, fake news, completely inaccurate and erroneous.
    edited May 2017 longpathStrangeDaysfastasleep
  • Reply 18 of 43
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    There is an important point (precedent) here that is being missed:
    Apple does not switch technologies unless it provides a significant improvement to the user.
    Right now, Lightening vs USB-C is effectively are a wash.
    ...   So, why change?

    USB-C fans will scream that it offers this or that -- but the fact is, in total, its advantages and disadvantages compared to Lightening wash each other out. 

    Good for Apple for avoiding change just for fashion's sake or to keep up with the Jones's...
    longpathshamino
  • Reply 19 of 43
    longpathlongpath Posts: 382member
    Soli said:
    Why would anyone think Apple would get rid of Lightning?
    Because lightning connectors fail badly over time, USB-C is MUCH more resilient - of course Apple won't change that since it makes a bucket of cash licensing lightning connectors. {{...and cue Apple fanboys...}}
    100% of the failure mode I have seen with Apple cables has been at the insulation near the device end of the cable (30 pin, Lightning, and MagSafe). Adding a shrink-tubing protective shroud around that, retaining it with a small amount of urethane glue has resolved that issue for me. On the other hand, 50% of the 3rd party Lightning cables my family has purchased have stopped working, even though they are outwardly in good order, without any obvious explanation.
  • Reply 20 of 43
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,418member
    It seems fairly clear given the direction of things that Lightning is the last port that the iPhone will ever have, and that in a few years' time Apple will ditch Lightning for no ports at all and long range wireless charging. Even then, of course, they'll leave a little connector for diagnostics like the one hidden in the strap slot of the Apple Watch, or a smart connector-type thing. But Jony Ive is going to want to seal up the body of the iPhone, leaving no unsightly ports, as soon as he has the chance.
    Most of us, I suspect, don't only use a port for charging though.
    We frequently read here of a preference for large updates via wire rather than wifi,
    and many of us sync our phones (and iPads) to our computers, as well as the cloud,
    for reliability, and also - I think - for speed???
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