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Apple likes to rip the band-aid off cleanly. No half measures, just a sharp and briefly painful leap to the next thing.
That’s how it was with the dearly departed 3.5 mm headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and that’s probably how it will be for the iPhone’s lightning port, which, if the rumors are true, will soon be replaced with a single USB-C port on the eagerly anticipated iPhone 8 (or X).
USB-C is in most ways a better technology than Apple’s Lightning port. It can transmit data more quickly. USB-C is rated for up to 10 gigabits per second data transfer. Apple’s current iPhone 7 lightning port may have transfer speeds up to 480 megabits per second, but when faster is just a port swap away.
USB-C can charge faster, supporting up to 100 watts. If Apple puts a USB-C port on the iPhone 8, it might also finally swap out its 5 watt chargers for something beefier. More watts will mean much faster charging.
Leaving aside the technology improvements, there’s another reason to make the change: Switching to USB-C will bring the iPhone in line with at least some of Apple’s other, newer products.
The Cupertino hardware giant now has two USB-C-only MacBook lines, the eponymous ultralight MacBook and its series of MacBook Pros, including the nifty Touch Bar edition.
People have been whining for months about these system’s lack of standard USB ports and even the MagSafe power adapters — and Apple sort of responded by reducing pricing on USB-C adapters — but the brouhaha has pretty much died down as people have, well, adapted.
It is to be mentioned that if Apple isn’t going in this direction right away, it must know it’s already swimming against the current in a mobile handset industry that’s fully embraced USB-C.
At the recently completed Mobile World Congress technology conference in Barcelona, Spain, virtually all the major mobile announcements featured handsets and/or tablets with USB-C posts.
The one reason Apple might wait a little longer (or altogether) to make the switch is that they charge third-party iPhone accessory manufacturers lighting port technology licensing fees..
Creative Strategies President and longtime Apple analyst Tim Bajarin said the idea of Apple switching ports on the iPhone 8 is plausible, though he worries it might be too soon. Apple’s penchant for making the leap (as it did with the 3.5 mm jack, the 30-pin port and the switch from PowerPC to Intel years earlier), makes me think that it will throw caution to the wind. 2017 will be the year both the iPhone and iPad lines adopt USB-C and we wave a hasty goodbye to lighting.