The iPhone might finally be ready to ditch Lightning for USB-C

Apple’s 2019 batch of iPhones could come equipped with a USB-C port, according to a new report.

Citing “those who are working on it”, Japanese site Macotakara (via MacRumors) has claimed that Apple might be about to drop the Lightning connector in favour of USB-C, as it did with the iPad Pro 2018.

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However, the report adds that Apple’s engineers have not yet reached the reference design stage. This means that, even if the report is accurate, we might only see a USB-C equipped iPhone in 2020.

Apple introduced the Lightning connector in 2012, with Phil Schiller hailing it as “the new connector for many years to come” at the time.

When it was ditched for USB-C on the latest iPad Pro model, Apple said: “A new USB-C connector replaces the Lightning connector in support of the powerful ways iPad Pro is used.

“Incredibly versatile, USB-C offers power for charging, supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 for high-bandwidth data transfers up to twice the speed to and from cameras and musical instruments, and drives external displays up to 5K. With USB-C, iPad Pro can even be used to charge an iPhone.”

The move to USB-C on the iPad Pro also opened the door for loads of things to be plugged in to the tablet, such as USB-C headphones, Ethernet and USB hubs and dongles.

The iPhone, of course, is a different kettle of fish.

However, back in 2009 a group of companies that included Apple signed a voluntary memorandum of understanding, stating that they’d agree to harmonise their chargers by 2011. Much of the rest of the smartphone industry settled on USB-C in 2014, but Apple stuck with Lightning.

Read more: iPad Pro USB-C guide

Last year, just ahead of the iPad Pro 2018 launch, it was reported that the European Commission was weighing up whether or not to take measures to force phone makers to embrace a common charging standard.

The EC says outdated chargers contribute to over 51 thousands tonnes of electronic waste, and that consumers are inconvenienced by having to change chargers with each handset.

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