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Apple not switching to USB-C iPhones in the near future, according to Ming-Chi Kuo

Apple not switching to USB-C iPhones in the near future, according to Ming-Chi Kuo


The dream is dead

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Two Lightning connectors.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The dream of a USB-C iPhone may be dead, according to the latest research note from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The company reportedly has no plans to adopt USB-C on future iPhone devices or integrate a Touch ID sensor into the power button (two technologies that exist on Apple’s iPad hardware, like the 2020 iPad Air).

The report, obtained by AppleInsider, explains the rationale behind Apple’s decision: “We believe that USB-C is detrimental to the MFi business’s profitability, and its waterproof specification is lower than Lightning and MagSafe,” according to Kuo.

Therefore, instead of a USB-C iPhone, Kuo suggests that Apple may jump straight to a long-rumored portless iPhone that relies exclusively on wireless charging — and specifically, Apple’s MagSafe technology — to charge. MagSafe, in particular, would provide a neat solution to both of the concerns Kuo raises: by eliminating ports, MagSafe would be even more waterproof than even Lightning, and Apple still controls the MagSafe standard through its MFi program, ensuring it’ll be able to continue to reap the rewards of licensing fees.

However, Kuo also notes that Apple doesn’t think MagSafe’s ecosystem has reached the point where it can be relied on as the sole charging method for the iPhone. Instead, he predicts that Apple will continue to use its Lightning port “for the foreseeable future.”

Kuo’s report also shoots down another persistent rumor for future iPhones: the idea that Apple might introduce a Touch ID sensor in the power button, similar to the one it offered on last year’s iPad Air refresh. According to Kuo, there’s no timeframe for Apple to add that upgrade either. An earlier report from Bloomberg, however, notes that Apple is testing a Touch ID scanner integrated directly into the display for this year’s iPhone lineup, although whether it actually makes the cut remains to be seen.

The entire report from Kuo contains far more information on Apple’s future iPhone lineup, including a smaller notch and faster refresh rates for this year’s iPhones, rumors of a hole-punch camera in 2022, and a potential eight-inch foldable iPhone that could launch as early as 2023.