Rumors of the upcoming iPhone 8 (or 7S) are floating around on the Interwebs. They talk about what the phone will look like or what it will feature. Talk about wireless charging, curved screens and larger phone size are just a few. One rumor that has gained traction is the debate over whether Apple will ditch the Lightning connector and make a total switch to USB-C.
A Wall Street Journal article reported “people with direct knowledge of Apple’s production plans” saying,
“…Apple [will] introduce other updates including a USB-C port for the power cord and other peripheral devices, instead of the company’s original Lightning connector.”
Will Apple ditch its proprietary Lightning connector in favor of USB-C? One side of the argument says yes. The evidence: Macbooks. Apple’s new line of Macbooks have made a full switch to USB-C.
The other side says no. The evidence: Apple’s MFi certification program.
Made by Apple, for Apple
The no’s have a substantial argument. MFi – Made for iPod, iPad and iPhone, is a money-maker for Apple. Any hardware or software made by a third-party for iPods, iPads and iPhones must receive a MFi certification to use Apple and product logos on their packaging. To become MFi certified, third-party products must pass certification tests and pay a licensing fee. They must also carry a special chip inside for compatibility with iOS.
There’s no doubting Apple has a giant share of the smartphone and tablet market. With such popularity, there’s of course going to be hundreds of third-party manufacturers looking to make a profit. For Apple, this translates to $$$.
It’s all about control
Besides the MFi certification program, Apple has no interest in losing control of its proprietary Lightning connector. Google may be pushing USB-C as the future of cables, but it’s nothing exclusive to Google itself. With the Lightning connector, Apple controls what goes into their devices, thereby keeping control of their connector, device and the money that comes from it. Imagine if the iPhone could use USB-C cables. Would you buy a USB-C cable from Apple or the one made by LG or Samsung for a third of the cost?
Continuing the theme of money in this blog post, sticking with a Lightning connector also saves Apple money. The amount of time and money spent in R&D to ensure a new connector (USB-C) works perfectly and looks good in a slim, attractive device just isn’t worth it. Why fix something that’s not broken?
The connector going into an Apple device won’t lose its Lightning, but it doesn’t mean the other end won’t be USB-C. USB-C is a powerful connector; it supplies power, audio and video all-in-one and therefore, it’s a connector of convenience for Apple. It basically does what Lightning has been doing for years now.
Lightning will stay
Any rumors circulating about Apple ditching the Lightning connector are just rumors. It will all be revealed this coming Fall.