Over the years, Apple has strangely developed a tendency to remove useful ports from its products. The 2015 MacBook, for one, got rid of all ports except one USB-C port, starting a dongle dependency that bogs down even the most high-end MacBook Pros of today. In 2016, Apple unveiled the iPhone 7, a smartphone that is essentially an upgraded iPhone 6S, save for the fact that it does not have a headphone jack. Apple’s reason then? Courage. Courage to take off the legacy port that remains useful until today.
Since then, however, the market has adapted, and even Apple’s staunchest critics have followed the company’s lead into a headphone jack-less aesthetic. Even Google, which openly mocked the iPhone 7 for its lack of a headphone jack when it introduced the Pixel and Pixel XL, ultimately followed Apple with the release of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. So far, only Apple’s biggest rival — Samsung — has not adopted a headphone jack-less design for its flagship smartphones.
According to a recent Bloomberg report, however, Apple is thinking of taking things a little bit further. Now that the market has become used to the idea of smartphones having no headphone jacks, the Cupertino-based tech giant is looking to remove another legacy port — one that was unveiled back in 2012 — the Lightning Port. The Lightning Port, introduced with the iPhone 5, has been a standard for Apple’s devices since the port was introduced. Heralded as an upgrade from the 30-pin dock connector that was used in the original 2007 iPhone all the way up to 2011’s iPhone 4S, the 8-pin Lightning Port provided advantages over its predecessor. For one, it consumed far less space, and it could be used with either side facing up. If Bloomberg‘s recent report is any indication, however, it appears that the 6-year-old port is about to face retirement soon.
The source of the report is the ever-accurate Mark Gurman, who noted that Apple is actually planning on removing the Lightning Port for the iPhone X, making the flagship device completely reliant on wireless charging. According to Gurman, the removal of the Lightning Port has been considered since before the iPhone X was released. Inasmuch as Apple wanted to remove the port, however, its wireless charging solutions still proved inferior to Apple’s traditional wired chargers.
“During the development of the iPhone X, Apple weighed removing the wired charging system entirely. That wasn’t feasible at the time because wireless charging was still slower than traditional methods. Including a wireless charger with new iPhones would also significantly raise the price of the phones,” Gurman said, according to a Forbes report.
Rumors of a fast wireless charging solution from Apple have been around for a very long time. In the months leading up to the iPhone X’s launch, speculations were abounding that the Cupertino-based tech giant was working on a fast wireless charging solution, including one that does not require direct contact between the device itself and the charging pad. As the device’s release date neared, rumors reverted to Apple still opting against the long-range wireless charging solution.
Apple does have a wireless charger. Called AirPower, the wireless charger was announced last year, but according to Gurman, a series of technical hurdles ultimately prevented Apple from releasing the device until perhaps this September.
For 2018, Apple fans need not fear. The iPhone X successor, the iPhone X Plus, and the budget iPhone will still be sporting the Lightning Port. It’s best not to be surprised if Apple removes the port next year, however.