Engineer details how he created the world's first USB-C iPhone

Posted:
in General Discussion
The engineer who modified an iPhone to sport a USB-C port has now shared the process of how the "world's first" Apple USB-C smartphone came to be.

Credit: Kenny Pi
Credit: Kenny Pi


Back in October, robotics engineer Kenny Pi shared a short video showing off the USB-C iPhone. Through some creative engineering, Pi was able to get the device to function properly, even with the heavy modifications.

In a YouTube video published Monday, Pi detailed the entire process -- from proof of concept to the actual machining of components.





The clip illustrates the fact that the modification is an intensive engineering feat and not a do-it-yourself type of project.

With that being said, Pi has released the entire initiative as an open-source project on Github. He is also auctioning off his original USB-C iPhone.

Even with the Github repository and detailed instructions, modifying an iPhone to this degree is ill-advised. According to Apple, unauthorized modifications kill the iPhone warranty. Furthermore, the modifications would most likely cause Apple to reject a repair of any sort.

It may not be long before consumers have the chance to own a USB-C iPhone, however. A proposed piece of legislation in Europe could mandate USB-C as a common port standard. If passed, the legislation would give Apple two years to release an iPhone with a USB-C port in the European Union.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,852member
    So he knows electronics.  Honestly, who outside of that tech-nerd-circle really cares? No one.
    mike1lkruppJapheywatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 20
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,839member
    sflocal said:
    So he knows electronics.  Honestly, who outside of that tech-nerd-circle really cares? No one.

    I was going to say the same thing. Who really cares and what's the benefit? I don't think anyone really doubted it could be done.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,320member
    sflocal said:
    So he knows electronics.  Honestly, who outside of that tech-nerd-circle really cares? No one.
    You’re on AppleInsider. This is at the very least tech-nerd-circle adjacent.

    i thought it was pretty cool. Good luck to him.
    austincOferneoncatMplsPCloudTalkinK!llSwitchqwerty52FileMakerFellerJapheycuriousrun8
  • Reply 4 of 20
    mike1 said:
    sflocal said:
    So he knows electronics.  Honestly, who outside of that tech-nerd-circle really cares? No one.

    I was going to say the same thing. Who really cares and what's the benefit? I don't think anyone really doubted it could be done.

    I wanted to be the first to say "Great job! Who cares?" But I will settle for third.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,714member
    crowley said:
    sflocal said:
    So he knows electronics.  Honestly, who outside of that tech-nerd-circle really cares? No one.
    You’re on AppleInsider. This is at the very least tech-nerd-circle adjacent.

    i thought it was pretty cool. Good luck to him.
    Good luck to him? Why? Is he going to startup a company that converts iPhones to USB-C and become wealthy beyond avarice?  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 20
    sflocal said:
    So he knows electronics.  Honestly, who outside of that tech-nerd-circle really cares? No one.
    What I nieve comment. Peeps like this in tech-nerd-circles are what engineer and build your Apple devices. Let me guess, you made the comment because it wasn't an official Apple announcement, it opposes Apple's position on this, however, you would suddenly rejoice if it was announced the iPhone 14/15 supported it, or this chap became a product engineer at Apple :wink: 

    To answer your question, I do care, and I am not in this tech-nerd-circle.

    An amazing achievement that I would like my iPhone to have, not least because I could then hopefully connect to USB-C devices such as storage and monitors etc. 
    OferneoncatCloudTalkinK!llSwitchqwerty52muthuk_vanalingamcuriousrun8
  • Reply 7 of 20
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,320member
    lkrupp said:
    crowley said:
    sflocal said:
    So he knows electronics.  Honestly, who outside of that tech-nerd-circle really cares? No one.
    You’re on AppleInsider. This is at the very least tech-nerd-circle adjacent.

    i thought it was pretty cool. Good luck to him.
    Good luck to him? Why? Is he going to startup a company that converts iPhones to USB-C and become wealthy beyond avarice?  
    I doubt it. But good luck to him whether he does or doesn’t.

    Wishing other people well needn’t be such a foreign feeling.
    neoncatMplsPCloudTalkinqwerty52FileMakerFellermuthuk_vanalingamJapheycuriousrun8
  • Reply 8 of 20
    I love the lightening connector and see no reason to ever use anything else. Unless they did MagSafe like the new MacBooks. That’d be really cool.
    They sell lightening usb flash drives. They also sell adapters if you have other usb connection needs. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 20
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,852member
    austinc said:
    sflocal said:
    So he knows electronics.  Honestly, who outside of that tech-nerd-circle really cares? No one.
    What I nieve comment. Peeps like this in tech-nerd-circles are what engineer and build your Apple devices. Let me guess, you made the comment because it wasn't an official Apple announcement, it opposes Apple's position on this, however, you would suddenly rejoice if it was announced the iPhone 14/15 supported it, or this chap became a product engineer at Apple :wink: 

    To answer your question, I do care, and I am not in this tech-nerd-circle.

    An amazing achievement that I would like my iPhone to have, not least because I could then hopefully connect to USB-C devices such as storage and monitors etc. 
    Cry me a river.  Seriously.  I'll get my rubber raft.

    The iPhone interface has always been USB.  It's just using a more (arguably) durable lightning connector instead of a USBc port.  All the guy did was replace the physical lightning port with a physical USBc port and chewed up the device in the process.  Would I do it?  No.  Would I ever do it?  No.  Why would anyone want to butcher their device, spend countless hours of labor to do it, when a cheap $3 USBc->Lightning cable works perfectly?  All this proves is the individual has WAY too much time on their hands and wanted to make a statement.  It's not like this means people/companies are going to pop up and start doing this.  It has zero value.

    Assuming Apple does not remove the USB port in place of wireless charging, I do believe Apple will one day use a USBc port but you can bet I'll wait for an official Apple-designed phone.  

    It's not an amazing achievement.  Go find a way to raise your standards.
    williamhwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 20
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,492member
    crowley said:
    lkrupp said:
    crowley said:
    sflocal said:
    So he knows electronics.  Honestly, who outside of that tech-nerd-circle really cares? No one.
    You’re on AppleInsider. This is at the very least tech-nerd-circle adjacent.

    i thought it was pretty cool. Good luck to him.
    Good luck to him? Why? Is he going to startup a company that converts iPhones to USB-C and become wealthy beyond avarice?  
    I doubt it. But good luck to him whether he does or doesn’t.

    Wishing other people well needn’t be such a foreign feeling.
    no, but @lkrupp has to be negative about everything. 

    Personally I'm impressed and think this is cool. It also definitely proves wrong the people who claim that Apple can't put a USB C port in an iPhone because there's not room.
    muthuk_vanalingamcuriousrun8
  • Reply 11 of 20
    His 15 minutes were up quite a while ago.
    lkruppwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 20
    austinc said:
    sflocal said:
    So he knows electronics.  Honestly, who outside of that tech-nerd-circle really cares? No one.
    What I nieve comment. Peeps like this in tech-nerd-circles are what engineer and build your Apple devices. Let me guess, you made the comment because it wasn't an official Apple announcement, it opposes Apple's position on this, however, you would suddenly rejoice if it was announced the iPhone 14/15 supported it, or this chap became a product engineer at Apple :wink: 

    To answer your question, I do care, and I am not in this tech-nerd-circle.

    An amazing achievement that I would like my iPhone to have, not least because I could then hopefully connect to USB-C devices such as storage and monitors etc. 
    Amazing achievement? Your bar must be set pretty low Austin. Get over your righteous indignation my friend. It's not much different than the old days of going to Radio Shack and buying a kit to make a transistor radio

    I seriously doubt this guy is doing much more than trying to get himself an audition. Apple doesn't hire from uninvited auditions unless they are buying the whole operation and even then, they get rid of most of the people that came with the purchase. Apple isn't hiring him and adding USB-C isn't something Apple needs his help to think of or do.

  • Reply 13 of 20
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,852member
    MplsP said:
    crowley said:
    lkrupp said:
    crowley said:
    sflocal said:
    So he knows electronics.  Honestly, who outside of that tech-nerd-circle really cares? No one.
    You’re on AppleInsider. This is at the very least tech-nerd-circle adjacent.

    i thought it was pretty cool. Good luck to him.
    Good luck to him? Why? Is he going to startup a company that converts iPhones to USB-C and become wealthy beyond avarice?  
    I doubt it. But good luck to him whether he does or doesn’t.

    Wishing other people well needn’t be such a foreign feeling.
    no, but @lkrupp has to be negative about everything. 

    Personally I'm impressed and think this is cool. It also definitely proves wrong the people who claim that Apple can't put a USB C port in an iPhone because there's not room.
    Who cares about what random sofa-chair wannabe USB engineers claim?  In years, I've maybe read a handful of comments anywhere about claims it won't fit.  Any rational person would know just by looking at the two connectors that USBc can fit with little to no issues.  

    My my understanding is lightning came in to play for the iPhone because USBc was not ready, and doesn't provide the durability and water resistance that lightning can provide.  Apple may have resolved that since it's already appearing on the iPad line.  Fine.  There's a huge ecosystem of lightning-port devices so I can understand Apple not wanting to let it go just yet.  I think it will be inevitable, unless Apple removes it entirely and goes with wireless charging.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 20
    citpekscitpeks Posts: 180member
    I have little doubt that Apple has developed iPhone prototypes with Type-C ports, much like the secret x86 port of Mac OS ("Star Trek") long before Intel Macs ever made it to market.

    But if he wants to claim "world's first" and get his 15 minutes of fame, then yay, I guess.
    edited November 2021 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 20
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,320member
    So much saltiness in this thread.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,062member
    MplsP said:
    crowley said:
    lkrupp said:
    crowley said:
    sflocal said:
    So he knows electronics.  Honestly, who outside of that tech-nerd-circle really cares? No one.
    You’re on AppleInsider. This is at the very least tech-nerd-circle adjacent.

    i thought it was pretty cool. Good luck to him.
    Good luck to him? Why? Is he going to startup a company that converts iPhones to USB-C and become wealthy beyond avarice?  
    I doubt it. But good luck to him whether he does or doesn’t.

    Wishing other people well needn’t be such a foreign feeling.
    no, but @lkrupp has to be negative about everything. 

    Personally I'm impressed and think this is cool. It also definitely proves wrong the people who claim that Apple can't put a USB C port in an iPhone because there's not room.
    I’ve never heard anyone make that claim, ever. If they can fit USB-C into the iPad Air, they can fit it into an iPhone. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 20
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,492member
    sflocal said:
    MplsP said:
    crowley said:
    lkrupp said:
    crowley said:
    sflocal said:
    So he knows electronics.  Honestly, who outside of that tech-nerd-circle really cares? No one.
    You’re on AppleInsider. This is at the very least tech-nerd-circle adjacent.

    i thought it was pretty cool. Good luck to him.
    Good luck to him? Why? Is he going to startup a company that converts iPhones to USB-C and become wealthy beyond avarice?  
    I doubt it. But good luck to him whether he does or doesn’t.

    Wishing other people well needn’t be such a foreign feeling.
    no, but @lkrupp has to be negative about everything. 

    Personally I'm impressed and think this is cool. It also definitely proves wrong the people who claim that Apple can't put a USB C port in an iPhone because there's not room.
    Who cares about what random sofa-chair wannabe USB engineers claim?  In years, I've maybe read a handful of comments anywhere about claims it won't fit.  Any rational person would know just by looking at the two connectors that USBc can fit with little to no issues.  

    My my understanding is lightning came in to play for the iPhone because USBc was not ready, and doesn't provide the durability and water resistance that lightning can provide.  Apple may have resolved that since it's already appearing on the iPad line.  Fine.  There's a huge ecosystem of lightning-port devices so I can understand Apple not wanting to let it go just yet.  I think it will be inevitable, unless Apple removes it entirely and goes with wireless charging.
    Yes, that’s absolutely the case. When the lightning connector was introduced it was better than anything else available.  Heck, it still holds its own, even against USB C.

    I haven’t seen a ton of people claiming it wouldn’t fit, but that’s among the excuses I’ve seen. The ‘not waterproof’ excuse doesn’t really … er…hold water, either as there are other smartphones on the market that have water resistance ratings and a USB C connector. 
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 20
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,714member
    Well, it seems this individual Is going to make a lot of money for this achievement. MacRumors is reporting that Mr. Pi has put the USB-C iPhone he modified up on eBay for auction. Bids have passed $85K. He has hawked it as the ultimate collectors item for Apple fanboys. But is it worth $85K+ to be able to show it off to other fanboys?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 20
    sflocal said:
    austinc said:
    sflocal said:
    So he knows electronics.  Honestly, who outside of that tech-nerd-circle really cares? No one.
    What I nieve comment. Peeps like this in tech-nerd-circles are what engineer and build your Apple devices. Let me guess, you made the comment because it wasn't an official Apple announcement, it opposes Apple's position on this, however, you would suddenly rejoice if it was announced the iPhone 14/15 supported it, or this chap became a product engineer at Apple :wink: 

    To answer your question, I do care, and I am not in this tech-nerd-circle.

    An amazing achievement that I would like my iPhone to have, not least because I could then hopefully connect to USB-C devices such as storage and monitors etc. 
    Cry me a river.  Seriously.  I'll get my rubber raft.

    The iPhone interface has always been USB.  It's just using a more (arguably) durable lightning connector instead of a USBc port.  All the guy did was replace the physical lightning port with a physical USBc port and chewed up the device in the process.  Would I do it?  No.  Would I ever do it?  No.  Why would anyone want to butcher their device, spend countless hours of labor to do it, when a cheap $3 USBc->Lightning cable works perfectly?  All this proves is the individual has WAY too much time on their hands and wanted to make a statement.  It's not like this means people/companies are going to pop up and start doing this.  It has zero value.

    Assuming Apple does not remove the USB port in place of wireless charging, I do believe Apple will one day use a USBc port but you can bet I'll wait for an official Apple-designed phone.  

    It's not an amazing achievement.  Go find a way to raise your standards.
    Well he is $85k better off and got some cred for it to, Yet all he had to do was replace the physical lightning port with a physical USBc port you say, genius. Sorry, you didn't have the idea given how easy it was, and with your high standards, you wouldn't have chewed the device up too, even better. 
  • Reply 20 of 20
    tommikele said:
    austinc said:
    sflocal said:
    So he knows electronics.  Honestly, who outside of that tech-nerd-circle really cares? No one.
    What I nieve comment. Peeps like this in tech-nerd-circles are what engineer and build your Apple devices. Let me guess, you made the comment because it wasn't an official Apple announcement, it opposes Apple's position on this, however, you would suddenly rejoice if it was announced the iPhone 14/15 supported it, or this chap became a product engineer at Apple :wink: 

    To answer your question, I do care, and I am not in this tech-nerd-circle.

    An amazing achievement that I would like my iPhone to have, not least because I could then hopefully connect to USB-C devices such as storage and monitors etc. 
    Amazing achievement? Your bar must be set pretty low Austin. Get over your righteous indignation my friend. It's not much different than the old days of going to Radio Shack and buying a kit to make a transistor radio

    I seriously doubt this guy is doing much more than trying to get himself an audition. Apple doesn't hire from uninvited auditions unless they are buying the whole operation and even then, they get rid of most of the people that came with the purchase. Apple isn't hiring him and adding USB-C isn't something Apple needs his help to think of or do.

    He got $85k and a news story for a chewed up phone, I stand by my comment, an amazing achievement. 
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