Apple’s Next iPhone Design Move Could Give It a Key PC-Like Function

The company may be making the iPhone more useful.

Apple may be about to give the iPhone a big boost in functionality. A report published Tuesday claims the company may be about to switch the Lightning charging connector for USB-C, echoing the move it made with the iPad Pro in November 2018. The switch would enable the use of more standard PC peripherals, like SD card readers and external displays.

The Mac Otakara report claims that Apple has yet to reach a decision about whether to make the move with its 2019 launch lineup, but it’s not the first time the possibility has surfaced. A February 2017 report from the Wall Street Journal made a similar claim, as did DigiTimes in June 2018. The iPad Pro’s switch was similarly heavily rumored prior to its unveiling. Ryan Reith, vice president for IDC, told Inverse last month that “I don’t have any knowledge that I’m sharing about the next iPhone, but I do believe they will go to USB-C in 2019.”

The latest MacBooks use USB-C.
The latest MacBooks use USB-C.

See more: 2019 Tech Predictions: Apple’s iPhone Finally Jumps to USB-C

The USB-C connector brought new functionality to the iPad that made it more useful in professional work. Users can directly plug in an external display, with the iPad supporting 4K resolutions with high dynamic range. Users can also import photos and videos from external storage, plug in an Ethernet adapter for wired internet access, connect hardware keyboards, charge up other devices and plug in USB hubs for expanded functionality. Apple has rolled out the same port to its Mac line, meaning users can share compatible devices between the two.

Moving away from the Lightning port could prove a sore point with consumers, though. The company first introduced the connector in 2012 with the launch of the iPhone 5 as a smaller, reversible alternative to the 30-pin dock connector that was in use since the third-generation iPod in 2003. Fans decried the switch as a ploy to make “all iPhone accessories obsolete,” as many sound systems offered 30-pin iPhone dock on the top.

Apple is likely to detail its plans for its 2019 iPhone lineup sometime in the fall, when it has historically unveiled its new devices. Other reports suggest the firm will add a third camera to the rear of the device.

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