No Lightning or USB-C in a future iPhone is a very bad idea

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2018
Buried in a report about the AirPower was a tidbit suggesting that Apple considered removing the Lightning port in its entirety in the iPhone X. That is an amazingly bad idea right now for many reasons.

Lightning on the iPhone 5

The claim

Buried in a report ostentibly about the AirPower charging pad shipping in September, Bloomberg caused a bit of a stir with claims that Apple had thoughts about removing the Lighting port in the iPhone X.

The report cites sources familiar with the matter, as they always do. We have no reason to disbelieve that Apple has the ultimate goal of removing the port.

But, we don't think it's soon, and frankly, we'd rather a data and power port not get removed at all. But, as with nearly all things Apple these days, there's a relevant history.

FireWire to 30-pin to Lightning

Not counting the funky DIN-8 to Newton connector on the MessagePad 2000, the FireWire port was Apple's first widely produced mobile device connector of choice going beyond a simple serial port. It did everything Apple needed at the time, it charged the iPod, and provided fast data transfer to the device.




It was amplified by the 30-pin connector at first. Initially, there was a FireWire to 30-pin connector, as well as a USB to 30-pin one. The FireWire functionality was killed along the way, leaving only USB 2.0 to 30-pin.

Apple said that they adopted the 30-pin connector to save space in the device. But, it was pretty clear as time went on, that it was engineered to be the connector on the original iPhone.

And then, in 2012 came Lightning, which Apple says also saved space in devices. It was a bidirectional plug well before USB-C. with the biggest difference between the two being Lighting having pins on the outside of the connector, and USB-C has them on the inside of the barrel.

Lightning when announced


That saving space argument may sound familiar. It's the same one that Apple used when they stopped putting a headphone jack in the iPhone. Space-saving is also one of the reasons that Apple uses for why they shifted to USB-C on the MacBook and Thunderbolt 3 on the MacBook Pro.

Lightning on the iPhone

Lightning is used for more than just charging. It is used for quick backups to a tethered computer and for some peripheral connections, like speaker docks.

Importantly, it is also used to do software reinstalls on a recalcitrant device.

There are SD-card adapters, iOS device to television connectors, speaker docks, and a whole host of other peripherals that rely on the connector. And, there is talk that USB-C is on the horizon for the iPhone at some point.

And, wired CarPlay is only just now really starting to take hold. Wireless CarPlay is still the odd-man out.

Engineering

The iPhone won't be seamless any time soon, if for no other reason than speakers. Plus, there's that pesky assembly process. The individual components need to be installed into the enclosure, and the device brought together as a whole before the glue and seals make it water resistant.

There's also the SIM slot. In order to have a user-swappable SIM, there's another cut in the casing. This is able to be worked around with eSIM or Apple SIM, but at the cost of user flexibility.

USB-C and Lightning were designed to be more able to resist water penetration. The only possible benefit of a completely penetration-free iPhone is waterproofing, but there will always be seams. There will likely always be some form of penetration into the casing for one reason or another.

The day is coming, but hopefully not soon

Apple may have been considering removing the port for the iPhone X, but we don't think that the conversation got that far. While we're pretty sure that the report is accurate, we're just not sure of its precision -- nor do we think that the discussion was first had with the iPhone X.

It's not hard to imagine that in a design lab someplace, Jony Ive and his minions envision a solid sheet of glass for the iPhone with no penetrations at all. So, yeah, we're pretty sure that the concept is being examined and has been considered more than once.

Ditching the headphone jack on the iPhone and replacing one USB connector for a newer one on the MacBook and MacBook Pro is one thing. While we won't deny both can be a hassle on occasion, it is a surmountable one with with the proper accessories. We've already talked about the whole USB-C situation recently.

But, part of any connectivity solution for users on the iPhone is the Lightning port. Apple's iPad-centric campaign requires connectivity that only a port can provide.

There is a strong argument for USB-C on the iPhone. There is no similar argument to be made from a user's perspective for killing data-oriented connectors. There is too much user functionality, to say nothing of a troubleshooting need, for the connector to go away -- at least today.
cgWerksAlex1Nlamboaudi4
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 62
    Why can't the connector (Someday) be one of those flush-mount ones like on the Surface, or it could be under a small panel like the Apple Watch. Used only when absolutely necessary. It if was like the Apple Watch with a small panel, that panel could be removed and it could function with a case for charging or other purposes. 
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 2 of 62
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,027member
    Define future !! Until most places where phone/tablet connectivity requires USB(like CarPlay) and until they move to wireless; lightening/USB-C will remain. Don't see even front leading in innovation change(courage to change) iPhone dropping port before 2020-21.
    edited June 2018
  • Reply 3 of 62
    qwweraqwwera Posts: 280member
    I can’t wait. Charging cables have always been the worst part of phone ownership and wireless chargers work amazing. 
    The sooner the better.
    caladanianGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 4 of 62
    sergiozsergioz Posts: 273member
    Apple is going to all wireless future.

    1 Step one remove headphone jack  ✅ 
    2 Step two remove data port & old SIM card slot is next. 

    Its comming and it will happen sooner than later and the rest will follow.  

    iOS 12 is more powerful then ever all your data transfer needs can be done over Wi-Fi charging can be done wirelessly. I am also for new eSIM standard becoming a norm. Waterproofing is a plus. Once Apple completely removes Lightning it’ll be a huge win for security reasons. No more law-enforcement, bruteforcing data out. Therefore there is no need for data port. How many of you still using your lightning and for what, just curious?
    edited June 2018 racerhomie3berndogaegeanGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 5 of 62
    foljsfoljs Posts: 367member
    qwwera said:
    I can’t wait. Charging cables have always been the worst part of phone ownership and wireless chargers work amazing. 
    The sooner the better.
    I wish you a painful death of your future port-less phone and the need to use a wired device with it.


    edited June 2018 mike1mdriftmeyermacseekerbaconstanganantksundarammacpluspluswilliamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 62
    HeliBumHeliBum Posts: 70member
    The "sources familiar with the matter" must be smoking some of that legalized California weed. Apple would be extremely stupid to remove the Lightning connector, if for no other reason than it would render several high profile accessories, including CarPlay, useless.
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 62
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,791member
    I travel a lot so carrying a wireless charger is too bulky and would be very inconvenient on the plane.
    mike1baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 62
    It migh sound like good idea for a user, but how do you troubleshoot bricked device without wire connectivity? At minimum it needs diagnostic port and then why to make things complex and have it only for technicians if it could be backup for user as well?
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 62
    volcan said:
    I travel a lot so carrying a wireless charger is too bulky and would be very inconvenient on the plane.
    It is not about charging only. But agreed that wireless charger can be bulky
  • Reply 10 of 62
    Although I'm not a fan of removing all ports from any device like this, I think the Smart Connector that is used on the iPad Pro could be a reasonable compromise, if it's capable enough to handle the load that would be required of it. It has a MagSafe like connection and can handle both data and power without having too much of a physical presence. I'm not sure what it takes up internally though, so who knows. 
    Eric_WVGGmac_128caladanianentropysleighrwatto_cobraAnilu_777
  • Reply 11 of 62
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,791member
    volcan said:
    I travel a lot so carrying a wireless charger is too bulky and would be very inconvenient on the plane.
    It is not about charging only. But agreed that wireless charger can be bulky
    Plus you can't charge and hold to use at the same time. Just a bad idea for my use case. 
    baconstangwatto_cobraAnilu_777
  • Reply 12 of 62
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,947member
    qwwera said:
    I can’t wait. Charging cables have always been the worst part of phone ownership and wireless chargers work amazing. 
    The sooner the better.

    volcan said:
    I travel a lot so carrying a wireless charger is too bulky and would be very inconvenient on the plane.

    volcan said:
    volcan said:
    I travel a lot so carrying a wireless charger is too bulky and would be very inconvenient on the plane.
    It is not about charging only. But agreed that wireless charger can be bulky
    Plus you can't charge and hold to use at the same time. Just a bad idea for my use case. 
    Amazing how some people just can't visualize a use case that's not their own.
    bonobobbaconstangwatto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 13 of 62
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 558member
    As it were mentioned. You will bet something and loose other.

    No data breeches probably but no ability to troubleshot phone outside of service
    Waterproofing but no wired accesorry
    No wire hasles but dependence on local wireless chargers or bulky one with you

    It is question how fast Apple wants to go there and whether wants to spur production of new domgles (wireles to wire)
    It is question whether apple marketing gorilla can push that. Maybe majoriky will invite that. God knows.
    baconstangnetmage
  • Reply 14 of 62
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,213member
    Man people are giving some gossipy anecdote in a Bloomberg rumor piece way too much ink.
  • Reply 15 of 62
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 5,007administrator
    Man people are giving some gossipy anecdote in a Bloomberg rumor piece way too much ink.
    Thus, the editorial. It isn't news, which is why we didn't talk about it yesterday.
    edited June 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 62
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,791member
    mike1 said:
    Amazing how some people just can't visualize a use case that's not their own.
    I am pretty sure that close to 100% of people who travel want to charge with a cable because there is nowhere to place a charging mat in the terminal or the plane or a restaurant, or a limo and you can't use the phone if it is on a mat. That is tens of millions of people every day that have the same use case as me.
    bonobobmacsince1988baconstanganantksundaramwatto_cobraavon b7Anilu_777
  • Reply 17 of 62
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,213member
    Man people are giving some gossipy anecdote in a Bloomberg rumor piece way too much ink.
    Thus, the editorial. It isn't news, which is why we didn't talk about it yesterday.
    If you guys need ideas on editorials/features how about one on Siri shortcuts and the shortcuts app? I think a good discussion could be hard around whether this is a good idea or whether Apple is just offloading making Siri smarter to users. I’m fascinated by it but at the same time think it could end up worry it might end up only being used by power users who currently use the Workflow app or know a lot about scripting/coding.
    Anilu_777
  • Reply 18 of 62
    Does anyone else get the feeling that Apple is going to continue removing features from their products in a nihilistic ritual to see how far they can go before people abandon them completely? Because that's what it looks like. But hey, their margin will keep going up, so you know, FTW!
    baconstangwilliamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 62
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 705member
    JFC! So they create buzz that says Apple is going to get rid of the port and it becomes truth in the public arena, then they turn around and claim that it’s a bad idea. This is all horeshit. Apparently, it’s perfectly legal to leak information about a company to manipulate stocks, yet the current laws for whistleblowing (actual facts) are the worst now than in the past 50 years. 

    Seriously, this country—the laws and those who run it—are morally bankrupt.
    watto_cobraAnilu_777
  • Reply 20 of 62
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 686member
    Although I'm not a fan of removing all ports from any device like this, I think the Smart Connector that is used on the iPad Pro could be a reasonable compromise, if it's capable enough to handle the load that would be required of it. It has a MagSafe like connection and can handle both data and power without having too much of a physical presence. I'm not sure what it takes up internally though, so who knows. 
    Was going to say this as well. I don't think it's time for Lightning to go yet, but would definitely like to see Apple make more use of Smart Connector and at least add it to the rest of the iPad line.
    mac_128jbishop1039caladanianentropyswatto_cobraAnilu_777
Sign In or Register to comment.