It's the moment the world has been waiting for: a sign that Apple might finally let go of the iPhone Lightning port. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects the company to make the switch to USB-C by 2023.
Kuo, a reliable Apple analyst whose prediction comes from an unspecified survey (likely of component makers, The Verge noted), said the actual specs are still unclear, but switching to USB-C would be huge for the company.
"USB-C could improve iPhone's transfer and charging speed in hardware designs, but the final spec details still depend on iOS support," Kuo tweeted on Wednesday.
USB-C is the go-to charging standard smartphones and laptops, and while there are still some cheap handsets clinging to micro-USB, Apple is the only company stubbornly sticking to a proprietary smartphone charging standard.
The company switched to USB-C for its iPad and MacBook lineups, so the iPhone remains the lone holdout. If Apple embraced USB-C entirely, we would live in a world where one charger would work for everything, and there would be no need to carry around different cables to support different devices.
There's also pressure from the European Commission to make USB-C the universal charging standard. Last September, the EU proposed a directive to make the USB-C standard on every consumer tech device to reduce e-waste and ensure people don't have to fill their bags with different chargers. Apple obviously wasn't thrilled with the directive — the company said it would limit innovation and hurt consumers as a result.
Apple's decision to move away from the Lightning port isn't entirely about acquiescing to USB-C proponents. The company ultimately wants to go portless and move entirely to wireless charging (likely using Apple's Qi-compatible MagSafe technology). Though Kuo's track record of Apple product predictions is pretty accurate, it sounds like we'll have to wait until next September to see whether the company decides to introduce a USB-C iPhone 15.