Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Wall Street Journal reports a rumor that a new iPhone will drop the lightning port for USB C

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the next iPhones will feature a “USB-C port for the power cord and other peripheral devices instead of the company’s original Lightning connector.”

The wording isn’t 100 percent precise, but the WSJ seems to be suggesting that Apple will drop the iPhone’s proprietary Lightning port in favor of the industry’s standard USB Type-C connector. It would be an unusual move for Apple, which has never been afraid of pushing its own connection standards, but not completely inexplicable. The company has already adopted USB-C on its MacBook line, and the two standards share some key features, including reversibility. Apple has also lead the charge (no pun intended) in developing USB type C with their engineers and engineers from other companies.

It’s also possible that the WSJ report means that USB-C will be incorporated not into the phone itself, but into its power adapters. That would mean replacing the USB-A plug on the end of the iPhone power cable with USB-C, like Apple has done with the adapters that ship with new MacBooks. This would make sense, allowing users who buy the new iPhone to charge it from their new MacBook using the cable that comes in the box. Apple’s new Ultra Accessory Connector (UAC) also makes it unlikely that the company will be dropping its Lightning port from the next iPhone.

The rest of the WSJ story is less ambiguous, and repeats a number of rumors we’ve heard before: that Apple will be unveiling three new iPhones this year, including updates to 2016’s phones and a new premium device; that one of these handsets will have a curved screen similar to those seen on Samsung’s Galaxy S7 devices; and that on one phone at least, Apple will be upgrading to OLED display technology.

The WSJ report also states that the new iPhone models “will do away with a physical home button.” We’ve previously heard this rumor from noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who suggests that one of 2017’s new iPhones will replace the physical home button with a “function area” underneath the display. He states that only one of the new iPhones will have this new feature though.

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