Apple is planning to add USB-C “support” to its 2019 iPhones and future iPads, according to the latest iteration of a rumor floated annually by the company’s Asian supply chain. A Digitimes report today claims that “Apple is still in its redesign phase” with USB-C technology and will not include it in 2018 iPhones.
Rumors of Apple’s supposed interest in switching from proprietary connectors to USB have popped up multiple times over the years, despite the company’s use of 30-pin Dock Connectors and 9-pin Lightning connectors to tightly control the accessory markets for its products. While the reversible, fairly resilient USB-C connector is the most appealing USB design to date — and already used for charging current MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops — it’s slightly larger than the Lightning ports on current iPads and iPhones.
Even so, the report cites sources at analog IC vendors for the claim that Apple will adopt USB Type-C in upcoming iPhones and iPads, apparently a reference to replacing the Lightning plug with USB’s 24-pin connector port. The claim is that Apple’s decision to use USB-C will also accelerate the connector’s use in competing handsets.
On the surface, the report is easy to take with multiple grains of salt, as prior rumors to the same effect have all proved inaccurate, and supply chain claims are notoriously questionable. However, as iPhones and iPads continue to grow in processing power, and interest in wireless accessories has increased, Apple may see value in a dramatically faster wired port for charging and data. Given USB-C’s growing popularity, moving to a third proprietary connector might be less appealing than simply adopting USB-C across more of the Apple product line.
Regardless of the company’s plans for 2019 and beyond, prior reports have suggested that Apple will begin to bundle USB-C chargers and USB-C to Lightning cables with its 2018 iPhones and iPads. The company recently dropped the price of its USB-C to Lightning cable to $19, matching its prior pricing for regular USB cables, and upgraded its 29-watt USB-C fast charger to a 30-watt specification for the same price. Apple is also expected to debut an 18-watt USB-C charger for iPhones and iPads this fall, setting the stage for greater adoption of USB-C across iOS devices, starting in September.