First a robotics engineering student made a splash late last year by modding an iPhone X with a USB-C port instead of a Lightning port — and sold the device for big money. Now someone else is touting a similar modification, but this time the handset boasts a reinforced port that includes waterproofing. And yes, the tinkerer’s going to sell it soon — probably for more money than most people make in a year.
USB-C iPhone: the Pillonel precedent
Back in October 2021, robotics engineering student Ken Pillonel showed off his modded USB-C iPhone X and then sold it on eBay in early November for an astounding $86,001.
Now a German modder named Gernot Jöbstl said he has swapped out an iPhone X’s Lighting port for a USB-C port in a similar way. Not only that, but he has reinforced the port and made it waterproof, he said. And of course, as he’ll now be claiming to have the world’s first waterproof USB-C iPhone, he’ll put it up for sale soon, hoping for a Pillonel-style windfall.
Jöbstl shared a video on YouTube showing his waterproof USB-C iPhone X, below. He said Pillonel’s work doing it for the first time inspired him. He said Pillonel’s GitHub page helped him create his version.
A new carbon fiber part and super glue
In addition to the waterproofing, Jöbstl noted he made a new custom part from 20% carbon fiber. It securely supports the USB-C module in the iPhone X, he said.
Jöbstl said he used super glue to isolate the wiring after soldering the USB-C connector. As a result, “it doesn’t look so nice,” he said. Not that you see the internal wiring. But you can see some of the super glue on the outside. It seems possible that glue could be contributing to the newly added USB-C port’s water resistance.
Coming soon to eBay, of course
Jöbstl said he plans to sell his waterproof USB-C iPhone on eBay to help fund more projects along these lines.
With the reinforcement and waterproofing, will he make even more than Pillonel did? Could this be a new cottage industry, while the world waits — and EU legislators apply pressure — for Apple to replace the Lighting port with a USB-C port?
At any rate, the eBay auction/sale starts on January 19, Jöbstl said. He didn’t share the opening bid/price.
As for a certain Cupertino tech giant’s plans for iPhone ports, it’s hard to say if we can expect a shift to USB-C. Some say the move will be straight to a port-free, all-wireless design.