Apple has relied on the Lightning connector for several years now, making it one of the defining elements of the iPhone lineup since. Of course, Apple using a different port for wired charging in its smartphone lineup is not new, and that’s also been one of the defining elements of Apple’s tenure in the smartphone space since day one. But it sounds like the future of the iPhone could get a little more interesting, if the rumors are true.
There is always speculation that Apple is going to drop Lightning and move on to USB-C. That picked up steam when the company’s portable Mac lineup introduced the port. And then again when the iPad Pro did the same thing. Apple is obviously not against the idea of USB-C for some of its products, so why not the iPhone? After all, it would mean customers would only need one cable to charge all these devices, and that’s pretty cool!
But it doesn’t look like 2020 is going to be the year that happens.
Most of the rumors suggest that Lightning will stick around for 2020, but 2021 is a different story. Before the end of 2019 there was a story that cropped up that suggested Apple is indeed going to drop the Lightning port — but not switch to USB-C. So what happens then? Are we going to see yet another proprietary port on the iPhone lineup?
Not exactly. That same rumor also said Apple is going to go “completely wireless” for at least one of the iPhones in 2021. Which could be a sign of things to come for future handsets in the lineup, too. If this is something Apple does plan to do, then introducing the “feature” in one iPhone to start isn’t a bad way to do it. And then the company trickles it out to other variants in the following years.
But it also seems kind of crazy because a completely wireless iPhone would leave Apple’s CarPlay out in the wind for a lot of people. Right now, the majority of use cases for CarPlay involve a wired connection to the car. Yes, Wireless CarPlay does exist, but its adoption has been abysmal from auto manufacturers. That could change in the next year or so, but it doesn’t feel like that’s going to be the case.
And even if it were, people can’t realistically be expected to upgrade their car just so their phone can be charged inside of it, or use Apple’s infotainment system.
A completely wireless phone sounds like a great idea on paper, but I’m not sure that Apple should show the courage here to go through with this plan. Unless the company is going to have two high-end flagship models that are exactly the same, except one features no port and the other has one (like a USB-C port, mind you). Think an iPhone 13 Pro Max and one iPhone 13 Pro Max Wireless.
But, what do you think? Should Apple go full wireless for an iPhone in 2021? Or should the company just make the switch to USB-C and call it good? Let me know what you think!