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Lightning could strike back — expect portless iPhone problems, says analyst

Iphone 12 Lightning Port
Iphone 12 Lightning Port (Image credit: Rene Ritchie)

What you need to know

  • Apple is heavily rumored to be considering a portless iPhone in future.
  • Analyst Kuo doesn't believe the current technology is ready for the removal of ports.
  • MagSafe charging and AirDrop are both too slow currently.

Apple is now increasingly rumored to be ready to ditch all of the iPhone's ports at some point in the relatively near future, but one analyst is warning that it won't all be upside if it does. In fact, we should expect "more problems" from such a switch according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo believes that next year's iPhone 15 will be all about that USB-C, but a future iPhone is increasingly likely to ditch that in favor of no charging port at all. And while that will help with waterproofing and aesthetics, it won't help with things like charging and data transfer. The move to USB-C would allow for faster charging and faster transferring of data — switching to a portless design would undo both of those benefits in one fell swoop.

Portless iPhone may cause more problems due to current limitations of wireless technologies & the immature MagSafe ecosystem.

It's true that MagSafe is a potential replacement for Lightning and USB-C, but as we already know with the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 lineups, anyone wanting to charge as quickly as possible will need a cable and that seems unlike to change soon enough for Apple to remove that cable option without impacting people. That appears to be Kuo's belief, and it's one that is difficult to argue with.

Charging isn't the only issue here, of course. Increasingly capable iPhone cameras create increasingly large files. We've already found that transferring those files over AirDrop or Lightning is cumbersome and USB-C would help here. Removing that option would take us back a step or three, something that will need a much-improved AirDrop to fix.

Despite talk of a portless iPhone having been around for a couple of years now, we still don't really know when we should expect Apple to take the leap. Moves are in motion to get it closer to a portless iPhone, however — iPhone 14 is already rumored to be ditching the SIM card tray, for example, removing another potential water ingress point. Would that make for the best iPhone in terms of water resistance? It surely wouldn't hurt.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

1 Comment
  • Apple, first & foremost, does whatever benefits Apple, not its customers. Port-less phones are a horrible idea at present due to inefficient charging & heat generation. Data transfers will also take a huge hit if Apple goes fully-wireless. They should spend some time away from the west coast, where they'll quickly find that the rest of the country doesn't have the fast, ubiquitous broadband speeds that they take for granted.