Were you hoping that the
iPhone 12 would come with a USB-C port instead of a lightning connector. USB-C is already available on iPad and Mac, so why not iPhone and AirPods?
USB-C promises a lot: a charger for all your Apple products, as well as other gadgets such as headphones, speakers, powerbanks and all the other battery-powered gadgets that fill our homes. A cord for everything.
iPhone XS, iPhone 11, and now the iPhone 12 have all been introduced since the iPad got a USB-C connector, and yet none of them have been gifted with the same port. Each time the iPhone has kept its lightning connector.
Had Apple wanted the iPhone to have a USB-C connector, we would have already seen it.
The fact that the iPhone 12 has not yet featured a USB-C port answers the question of when USB-C will appear on Apple phones: the answer is never. USB-C will never come to iPhone. If Apple was thinking of adding it it would have done so already.
In fact, I wrote a similar column back in 2018 with the same headline. Today, the arguments that Apple will skip USB-C are even stronger.
The reason Apple won’t add USB-C to the iPhone is the newly introduced QI charger with it’s nostalgic name: MagSafe. It the perfect opportunity for Apple to drive customers to spend £39 on another accessory for their iPhone, instead of just using the charging cable that comes in the package (and
the plug that doesn’t). You can
buy the MagSafe from Apple here.
We already know that Apple likes wireless technologies and wireless gadgets. The company was one of the first to introduce wireless network cards in its laptops, and many times they have been quick to remove ports that they think are no longer needed.
That’s not to say that removing ports has always gone down well with customers. There was outcry when the headphone jack was removed in 2016. But Apple’s solution for the absent headphone jack is spelled
Most Apple products today have only one or two ports for connecting chargers and other gadgets.
It is obvious that Apple thinks that wireless charging is a good idea. Apple put a lot of energy and engineering hours into the incredibly ambitious, and unsuccessful,
AirPower charger. The AirPower project (which is said to have continued despite the difficulties) shows that the company believes that wireless charging is a technology worth improving and investing in.
Because, right now, wireless charging has a lot of limitations. Higher heat generation (which batteries generally dislike), lower efficiency (which results in higher energy consumption), and you are never so bound to a limited area as with just “wireless” charging. As soon as you pick up the phone, it stops charging. Your charging cord at least gives you a bit of space to roam in.
Apple’s MagSafe solves at least two problems. You do not have to think about placing the phone correctly on the charger, a problem that AirPower also tried to solve. The magnets click firmly in just the right position.
The magnets also keep the charger attached to the back of the iPhone and thus enable it to continue to charge it even if you pick up the phone to use it.
MagSafe can also charge faster than many other wireless chargers. 15 watts is almost as fast as fast charging via cable – but only almost.
Apple has apparently spent a considerable amount of time developing the MagSafe system, with its two chargers and other accessories. Nothing in the introduction of iPhone 12 and MagSafe points to USB-C in future iPhone models.
Once Apple has straightened out the problems with wireless charging the door will be wide open for an iPhone completely without a port, neither lightning nor USB-C.
If nothing else, it means that Apple, after the headphones and the charger, can finally also remove the charging cord from the iPhone box.
The eventual move away from plugging in to charge to wireless charging will also enable Apple to make iPhones more waterproof in the future.
This article originally appeared on
Macworld Sweden. Translation by Karen Haslam.