Gurman: Apple Considered Removing Lightning Connector on iPhone X

As a side note in his report about technical challenges facing the AirPower, expected to be released by September, well-connected reporter Mark Gurman also noted that Apple considered removing wired charging from the iPhone X.

Lightning iPhone 7
From his Bloomberg News story:

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.

Just to be absolutely clear, Gurman confirmed to me that this would have included removing the Lightning connector from the device. In fact, his report notes that Apple designers eventually hope to "remove most of the external ports and buttons on the iPhone," although this is likely multiple years away.

A few years ago, it was reported that Apple's design chief Jony Ive's end goal is for the iPhone to resemble a "single sheet of glass," while Apple has repeatedly expressed its ambitions to "create a wireless future," so the eventual removal of the Lightning connector should perhaps come as no surprise.

Apple is already well on its way towards that wireless future, with products and technologies ranging from AirPods and AirPower to its W1 and W2 wireless chips. Apple also made the controversial decision to remove the headphone jack from iPhone 7 models a few years ago, pushing users towards wireless earphones.

Still, removing the Lightning connector would certainly be another controversial decision, given it is not only used for wired charging, but also for audio and data transfer, such as syncing an iPhone with iTunes on a Mac or PC.

Removing the Lightning connector would also prevent an iPhone from directly connecting to a wide range of peripherals, including many adapters, docks, battery cases, power banks, keyboards, game controllers, audio cables, wired headphones, and other accessories authorized under Apple's MFi Program.

In many cases, however, wireless alternatives would be available. It's possible to sync an iPhone with iTunes over Wi-Fi, for example, while wired headphone users can go wireless, Bluetooth-enabled game controllers are available, and upright-positioned wireless chargers can double as a docking station.

There is even wireless CarPlay, although it is currently only available in a few vehicle models and aftermarket systems.

Of course, there would be some friction with this transition, just like when Apple switched from its 30-pin dock connector to Lightning in 2012, and removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. In both of those cases, however, the controversy eventually died down as many users came to accept the new reality.

It's also worth noting that Apple considers a lot of different ideas internally that might never materialize in a public-facing product.

At this point, it appears like the Lightning connector on iPhones should live on for at least a few years. Rumors suggest Apple will bundle a faster 18W charger with a USB-C port with iPhones released in 2018, which would connect to the devices with a Lightning to USB-C cable included in the box.

Top Rated Comments

e-coli Avatar
43 months ago
That's great and all, but how are you going to charge the phone in your car? Or at the airport? This is a design edict disconnected from the real world. Time to leave the glass bubble, Jonny.
Score: 119 Votes (Like | Disagree)
friednoodles Avatar
43 months ago
Given how many people I see with portable battery packs plugged into their phones while out and about, if you thought removing the 3.5mm audio jack was taken badly, you ain't seen nothing yet...
Score: 102 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Adithya007 Avatar
43 months ago
Old Memories.

Attachment Image
Score: 87 Votes (Like | Disagree)
eeboarder Avatar
43 months ago
I'm still upset about them removing the 3.5mm audio jack.

Quit making things difficult for the consumer!
Score: 60 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kklaus Avatar
43 months ago
If they replace it with USB-C, I like it! But no connector at all sounds a bit extreme...
Score: 48 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
43 months ago
Great, now they’ll have room to add the 3.5mm headphone jack back!
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
maxresdefault

Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak Discuss iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, Privacy, Shortcuts on Mac, and More

Saturday June 12, 2021 6:12 am PDT by
As is tradition, Apple executives Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak joined Daring Fireball's John Gruber in an episode of The Talk Show to discuss several announcements that Apple made over this weeks WWDC, including iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and a large focus around privacy. Federighi kicks off the conversation discussing the common architecture, now thanks to Apple silicon, across all of...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
adobe photoshop sketch ipad

Adobe Removing Photoshop Sketch and Illustrator Draw From App Store in July

Saturday June 26, 2021 4:02 pm PDT by
Adobe this week reminded customers that its Photoshop Sketch and Illustrator Draw apps will no longer be available for download on iOS and Android starting July 19. Adobe plans to stop supporting the apps for existing users on January 10, 2022. In a support document, Adobe said users can easily migrate to its Fresco app, which combines many Photoshop Sketch and Illustrator Draw drawing and...
REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
homepod feature blue2

Looking to Grab a HomePod Before They're Gone? These Retailers Still Have Stock

Monday March 15, 2021 6:54 am PDT by
Apple last week discontinued the original HomePod, marking just over three years on the market for the full-size smart speaker. If you're looking to purchase the larger HomePod before it's completely gone, there are still some options online today. The biggest retailer with remaining stock on the HomePod is Apple itself, which has the White HomePod for $299.00 on its website. Space Gray is...
september 2021 event ar logo

Apple's September 14 Event Page Features AR Logo on iPhone

Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:23 am PDT by
Apple this morning announced a digital-only event that will be held on Tuesday, September 14, and if you view the event webpage on an iPhone, you can tap on the logo to open up Apple's Safari AR viewer and you'll see the three-dimensional logo move in real-time in the real world. Just open up the event site on an ‌iPhone‌ or iPad and tap right on the logo to open up the AR version. The...
iphone 11 night mode photos

Apple Reveals New Night Mode Photo Feature Exclusive to iPhone 11 Series

Tuesday September 10, 2019 12:23 pm PDT by
Apple today announced the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Max, all-new models that boast improved cameras, and specifically, a dramatic new Night Mode photo feature. Last year, Google introduced its impressive Night Sight camera mode, a software-based feature that allows users to take detailed pictures in dark environments using Google Pixel smartphones. Apple's new Night...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...