The transition to iPhones using USB Type-C cables has begun. Rumors have popped up that this year's iPhones will include Lightning-to-USB cables, and now a report from DigiTimes suggests that 2019 devices will include USB Type-C on the phones themselves.
That would replace the Lightning port that has been in use since the iPhone 5 in 2012.
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The report, however, is short on other details and contains a questionable claim: that its sources believe "Apple's adoption of Type-C in its iPhones will accelerate other smartphone companies' adoption of the interface in their products[.]" While Apple was early on Thunderbolt 3 on laptops, many companies producing Android smartphones have already moved to the latest universal USB standard.
In fact, nearly every Android phone released today has USB-C, including the Galaxy S9, OnePlus 6, HTC U12+, Google Pixel 2, Motorola Z2 Force and Huawei P20 Pro. The older Galaxy S8 from last year also had USB-C, and the LG G5 had USB-C way back in 2016.
Including USB-C to Lightning cables in the box for 2018 iPhones makes sense, as it would introduce customers to the standard and allow for fast charging. But moving to USB-C on the phone itself raises questions. For one, Apple is all about making devices thinner, and USB Type-C is thicker than Lightning. Additionally, Apple licenses the right to make accessories with Lighting as part of its Made for iPhone (MFi) program. With USB Type-C, there would be a wide array of accessories available that Apple couldn't control.
That being said, the availability of those accessories might ease some pain, as there will be more available than when Apple switched from its 30-pin connector to Lightning back on the iPhone 5. And Apple has been slowly getting into other standards, like Qi charging, as of late.
This year, we're expecting three new iPhones, all in the style of the iPhone X, with Lightning ports.