This is huge. Apple just did away with the iPhone’s headphone jack and included Lightning EarPods in the box instead of the 3.5mm earphones it has shipped with previous generations of iPhones. Now it appears that those Lightning earphones are already being phased out.
Plausible? Certainly. Apple has no qualms about ditching old technology, even its own. Remember the 30-pin connector that it sacrificed for the proprietary Lightning port? A move to USB-C would actually be a positive one, at least in terms of compatibility. USB-C is a standard that tech companies are quickly adopting, so the iPhone would finally play nice with peripherals and accessories that aren’t made or licensed by Apple. The new MacBooks are also all-in with USB-C, so it wouldn’t be at all surprising if the iPhone made the move.
USB-C? Not so fast
The rumor: Just a few days after The Wall Street Journal revealed new information about the forthcoming iPhone 8 (full rumor above), a prominent Apple analyst is denying the intel. KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo is refuting that the 2017 iPhone will replace the Lightning port for a USB-C connector. In fact, Apple is allegedly adding fast-charging capabilities to its proprietary Lightning connector for “type C power delivery” without having to change the port and cables.
According to Kuo, Apple doesn’t have enough incentive to use USB-C. First of all, USB-C takes up more space inside the iPhone, which would change the form factor. In addition, since USB-C is universal, switching to it would remove the MFi royalties that Apple gets from licensing its property Lightning technology to third-party iOS accessory-makers.
Plausible? Highly. Switching connectors is not a decision Apple usually takes lightly, so the benefits would have to drastically outweigh the current technology. And Lightning seems to be working for the iPhone and iPad, despite the fact that they’re incompatible with even the new MacBooks. Plus, Kuo is a reliable source when it comes from reports from the Apple’s assembly line.
However, we can’t totally dismiss the WSJ report. Perhaps Apple has considered switching to USB-C. It would make its iOS products more compatible with third-party accessories and peripherals, a benefit now that the iPad Pro is being advertised as a PC replacement. The switch to USB-C would certainly be more user-friendly, but it might also counter Apple’s closed ecosystem strategy, which doesn’t seem to be a drawback for iPhone and iPad sales.
Curved display or no curved display?
The rumor: Early reports about the iPhone 8’s OLED display indicated that Apple was aiming to make a curved screen. The WSJ reports that plan is still in the works, though Chinese research firm TrendForce said earlier in February that early prototypes weren’t up to Apple’s standards. Apparently that’s no longer the case: Apple “has ordered sufficient components to enable mass production,” the Journal’s sources said.
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