iPhone 14 Pro Could Be Last Flagship iPhone With Lightning Port
Kuo last week claimed that at least some iPhone 15 models, set to launch in the second half of 2023, will feature a USB-C port instead of Lightning to improve data transfer and charging speeds. He previously said that Apple would stick with Lightning on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," explaining that switching to USB-C would be harmful to Apple's Made For iPhone (MFi) business and potentially lessen the iPhone's waterproof specification.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman went on to corroborate Kuo's claim, saying that Apple is testing iPhones with USB-C ports instead of Lightning. Gurman added that if Apple switches the iPhone from Lightning to USB-C, it will release a Lightning to USB-C adapter to allow USB-C iPhones to connect to Lightning-based accessories and cables.
Initial speculation suggested that Apple will retain the Lightning port on the iPhone until it no longer requires any ports at all, relying singularly on MagSafe instead. MagSafe was first introduced on the iPhone with the iPhone 12 in 2020, and it remains a relatively new technology on the iPhone with no data transfer capabilities. Now, Apple has seemingly changed its plans.
One possible reason for the change is regulatory pressure to standardize ports. The EU is once again moving forward with legislation to force Apple to adopt USB-C on all iPhones, iPads, and AirPods sold in Europe.
- The EU Wants All Phones to Work With Interoperable Chargers, Here's What That Means for Apple's Lightning Port
Apple has used the Lightning connector on all iPhones since 2012's iPhone 5, as well as a wide range of iPads and accessories. Most other devices, including many of Apple's own iPads and Macs, have switched to USB-C as a versatile and highly capable connector, in a small, reversible form factor. Calls for Apple to switch to USB-C on the iPhone have grown in recent years, citing the benefits of faster data transfer speeds, especially for large ProRes video files, and consistency between devices.
It is not clear which iPhone 15 models will feature a USB-C port, but it seems plausible that Apple could reserve the feature for the "Pro" models. USB-C was exclusive to the iPad Pro for several years before it expanded to the iPad Air and iPad mini, so a similar pattern for the iPhone is a possibility. If so, after 10 years of the Lightning connector dominating the best available iPhone, this year's iPhone 14 Pro could be the final flagship iPhone to feature the Lightning port.