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May 16, 2022
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Rumor mill: Apple has doggedly stuck to its Lightning port for the iPhone as USB-C increasingly becomes the standard for other portable devices. However, Apple may finally give it up next year. The move could be spurred on by external pressure.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tweeted Wednesday that Apple will release an iPhone in the second half of 2023 — possibly the iPhone 15 — that will use a USB-C port instead of its proprietary Lightning port. Kuo based his prediction on a supply chain survey. Kuo said switching to USB-C could lead to better transfer and charging speeds for hardware designs.

Apple has faced pressure from regulators and users to offer iPhones compatible with USB-C cables, which many consumers already own. Everything from competing smartphones to the Nintendo Switch has already made USB-C the standard. Even MacBooks and iPads now use the more common alternative. The iPhone is Apple’s last holdout.

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It’s expected to see existing USB-C-related suppliers of Apple’s ecosystem (e.g., IC controller, connector) become the market’s focus in the next 1-2 years, thanks to vast orders from iPhones and accessories’ adoption of USB-C ports.

— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) May 11, 2022

Even though it will be Apple’s first official iPhone with USB-C, it’s not the first ever. Late last year, a Swiss modder built a custom USB-C port into an iPhone, then published instructions for the procedure.

On the regulatory front, the European Union came one step closer to enacting standardized electronic device chargers last month. If approved, it could force iPhones to switch to USB-C. However, if Kuo’s analysis pans out, the new regulations would be a mostly moot point, and iPhone users can celebrate having only one cable to charge all of their devices.

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