The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that the next iPhone would feature a “USB-C port for the power cord and other peripheral devices instead of the company’s original Lightning connector.” The poorly worded report made it seem like Apple was planning to replace its Lightning connector with USB-C, but reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo disagrees.
“We believe all three new iPhones launching in 2H17 will support fast charging by the adoption of Type-C Power Delivery technology (while still retaining the Lightning port),” says Kuo in a research note obtained by MacRumors. The note appears to suggest that Apple will switch one end of the power cord to USB Type-C instead of the regular USB connector. If accurate, this is still a big change for the next iPhones due this year. A USB-C power cord (with a lightning connector for the phone) would mean you could plug a new iPhone into the latest MacBook Pro, but you’d need a different cord or an adapter to plug it into older MacBooks and PCs.
Kuo’s report provides some clarity on why The Wall Street Journal reported that there would be a USB-C “port” (it’s actually a connector) for the power cord, but it’s clear this connector isn’t being used “instead of” the Lightning connector.
It always seemed unlikely that Apple would drop its Lightning connector so quickly, especially as the company has invested in a new Ultra Accessory Connector (UAC). Apple also generates revenue from licensing Lightning, and the connector is still slightly smaller than a USB-C one which is important for its ambitious phone designs.