On Today’s Curious Wall Street Journal Report Claiming the Next iPhone Will Replace Lightning Port With USB-C
If Apple had any plans to switch from Lightning to USB-C, why wouldn’t they have switched last year with the iPhone 7, when they started making tens of millions of pairs of Lightning ear buds? Why did they put a Lightning port on the AirPods case? My expectation has been that iPhones will never switch to USB-C—that Apple would stick with Lightning until they can do away with external ports entirely.
I have no inside dope on this, but it rings false to my ears. If there’s any truth to it, I’d bet that this year’s iPhones will ship with USB-C chargers, that use a USB-C to Lightning cable to connect to the phones. That makes sense, given that Apple has dropped USB-A ports from the newest MacBook models.
These two paragraphs sum up nicely the objections to USB-C on iOS devices. His point about shipping all the Lightning earphones last year is an excellent point. If removing the headphone jack and replacing it with Lightning audio capability created such backlash, imagine what immediately switching those earphones from Lightning to USB-C will do. I think Gruber is right on with the shift to USB-C chargers, a point that I didn’t address in my earlier post.
Switching chargers to USB-C—and switching the charging end of the Lightning cable—makes sense. Switching the iOS devices entirely to USB-C doesn’t make sense. I think that switching the MacBooks to Lightning would be a good idea, too, though I doubt that will happen, because USB-C will be a standard protocol, and the MacBooks require other things to plug into them—like iPhones and external drives and printers. I think all this could be easily handled with dongles, which would upset some but wouldn’t bother me, but Gruber’s argument—about switching from Lightning to USB-C one year after switching the earphones to Lightning—would also apply here. It’s been two years since Apple introduced the USB-C in their 12-inch MacBook, but it’s been much less than a year since they switched the MacBook Pro to USB-C. I know of people who returned their MacBook Pros simply because they were frustrated with the dongle situation. Imagine how people would respond if they had to get new Lightning dongles to connect the USB-C dongles they bought last year. If Apple were going to make the switch on the MacBook to Lightning, last year would have been the year.