iPhone’s Lightning port won’t disappear anytime soon

By

At least one iPhone will lose Lightning in 2021, according to one report
Not going anywhere.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Highly respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo can find no evidence that Apple plans to remove the iPhone’s Lightning port for charging and data transfers. It won‘t be replaced by USB-C. And a portless model isn’t coming, either.

The Lightning port used to be in all Apple tablets, but many iPad models switched to USB-C. Kuo says the iPhone won’t follow suit. “The market expects the iPhone to abandon Lightning in favor of USB-C and equip the power button with the Touch ID sensor, but our latest survey indicates that there is no visibility on the current schedule for the iPhone to adopt these two new specifications,” said the TF International Securities analyst in a Monday note to investors seen by Cult of Mac.

Kuo’s sources in Apple’s supply chain have given him a history of correctly predicting upcoming changes to iPhone, iPad and Mac.

Multiple reasons to keep the iPhone Lightning port

The analyst’s prediction is based partially on profit motive. Lightning is a proprietary technology, and Apple pulls in considerable revenue from licensing it to accessory makers. Cupertino would give up that extra income if it switched iPhones to USB-C.

Also, Kuo points out that USB-C is less waterproof than a Lightning port.

The iPhone 12 series includes MagSafe, an improved wireless charging method. Some see this as a move toward Apple creating portless handsets. Apparently, not soon, though. “At present, the MagSafe ecosystem is not mature enough, so the iPhone will continue to use the Lightning port in the foreseeable future,” said Kuo.

No return to iPhone Touch ID, either

The 2020 iPad Air includes a Touch ID scanner in the tablet’s power button. As mentioned above, Kuo sees no evidence that Apple plans to put this into its handsets.

The analyst says that’s an unfortunate decision. “We believe that the iPhone will significantly improve the user experience if it adopts the power button with the Touch ID sensor,” the analyst told investors. “However, currently, there is no visibility on the timing of adopting this new specification.”