A reliable source says Apple is considering stripping the Lightning port from future iPhone models and replacing it with … nothing. Hopefully, it’s not too late to stop this terrible, terrible idea.
A portless iPhone is possible. And there are even a few advantages. But the significant drawbacks make the idea something that should be dropped like a burning bag of poo.
The latest unconfirmed report that Apple might head this direction comes from Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman. Last Friday, he wrote near the end of a post about Touch ID that, “Apple has also discussed removing the charging port for some iPhone models in favor of wireless charging.” Gurman has one of the best records for dragging info from deep inside Apple. If he said it, it’s almost certainly true.
There are advantages of a portless iPhone
There are reasons why Apple might drop the Lightning port. Most notably, it would make iPhones even more water-resistant. The port is waterproof now, but most people don’t realize they’re supposed to dry it out if water gets in it. If not, the contacts can get mucked up.
Also, while you might not think of it this way, plugging and unplugging a connector into the Lightning port makes it a moving part. And since it’s used thousands of times over the life of the iPhone, it can simply wear out.
Plus, we now can take advantage of wireless alternatives for almost everything we once used the Lightning port for. We can back up and restore our handsets to iCloud, with no Mac or PC needed. Updates are installed wirelessly. And every iOS model going back to iPhone 8 supports wireless charging.
But we still need an iPhone port
Those advantages are utterly outweighed by the drawbacks of removing the Lightning port.
First off, there’s iPhone recovery. If something goes seriously wrong with your iOS handset, the cure is to hook it to a Mac or PC and use recovery mode. The need for this is rare, but occasionally crops up when operating system updates go horribly wrong. Without a Lightning port, this is impossible. The only option would be to send the iPhone to Apple or an authorized repair tech. A minor hassle suddenly becomes a major one.
Next, even assuming the future portless iPhone comes with MagSafe, wireless charging will still be slower than wired. And the handset itself will cost more to make because Apple will (probably) put a MagSafe charger in the box. And they’ll cost users extra because most people will want to buy extras to have additional chargers at work, in the car, etc.
Plus, you can say goodbye to some great accessories, like:
- Wired headsets. It takes can adapter, but you can plug regular headphones into the Lightning port.
- Or you can use an adapter to plug any USB drive into an iPhone to access the contents.
- The Lightning port lets you take advantage of the speed and security of Ethernet adapters.
- Apple’s HDMI adapter turns your iPhone into a TV set-top box.
- Most CarPlay users connect via a cable.
None of these options will be possible with a portless iPhone.
Apple, vote ‘no’ on portless iPhones
As you can see, the few small advantages of removing the Lightning port pale next to the advantages of keeping it.
Fortunately, Gurman’s inside source says Apple is only discussing the idea. Things really should end there.
Apple, keep the Lighting port. Or go with an even better option: USB-C. Virtually every other handset and computer uses USB-C for charging and data, including recent MacBooks and iPads. If the iPhone switched to USB-C, we could use the same cable to charge all our Apple devices. And we could share other accessories too.
Lightning’s day is long over. Let it be replaced with the industry standard. And Apple, please stop even considering a portless iPhone.