If there’s one feature we’re 100 percent certain of when the iPhone 15 launches this fall, it’s USB-C. Ever since the EU ratified its law requiring new portable electronic devices to use the universal port for charging beginning in 2024, it’s been reported time and time again that Apple won’t drag its feet with complying.
However, it apparently wasn’t always that way. According to a rumor from Unknownz21on Twitter, Apple planned a version of the iPhone 15 with a Lightning port “very early on,” but the prototype was “quickly scrapped” in favor of USB-C.
That’s not a complete surprise, but it is an interesting look at Apple’s iPhone development process, which has been reported to begin years ahead of the release schedule. While the ports are similar, switching from Lightning to USB-C is not a small change and likely required numerous updates to internal components and layout. It could also be part of the reason why Apple is reportedly struggling with the haptic engines for the rumored capacitive buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro.
Apple is expected to switch to USB-C for the entire iPhone line, marking the end of 10 years of Lightning connectivity. After moving the iPad to USB-C over the past several years, the iPhone is the last major device to still use the port aside from the AirPods cases and Mac accessories.
Along with charging, the Lightning port is also used for data transfers but currently tops out at 480Mbps. Switching to USB-C will allow Apple to offer much faster data transfers, possibly as high as 40Gbps if it supports Thunderbolt on the iPhone 15 Pro models.
Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 15 at an event in September. For the latest news and rumors, follow along with our iPhone 15 superguide.