Apple’s Dream for iPhones Could Actually Be a Nightmare

This story is a part of Focal Point iPhone 2022, CNET’s assortment of stories, ideas and recommendation round Apple’s hottest product.

The iPhone 14 smartphones go a step additional in Apple’s quest for a portless cellphone, making the brand new fashions sleeker and stronger by dumping the SIM card slot and counting on eSIM chips

Gone is one other mechanical vulnerability to mud and water, following Apple’s option to evict the three.5mm headphone jack beginning in 2016 and dumping the bodily residence button beginning in 2017. Extrapolating into the longer term, you may anticipate Apple to dump the charging and knowledge port subsequent, starting the period of the portless iPhone.

I certain hope not.

I’m all for progress, however I believe it is best that we maintain a few of these copper cables in our lives — despite the fact that that runs counter to the thought of a modern and seamless gadget that Apple aspires to and that is now turning into possible, as CNET senior editor Lisa Eadicicco factors out.

Sleek sounds nice, however hear me out. There are three huge issues with a portless iPhone: charging inconvenience, sluggish knowledge switch and the rejection of wired earbuds. Here’s a have a look at the state of affairs.

Wireless charging shortcomings for iPhones

The first huge drawback with a portless iPhone is that it could be tougher to cost.

You could properly have charging pads within the kitchen, within the workplace, in your automobile, and even perhaps on the nightstand by your mattress. You have to cost your cellphone elsewhere, although: on the airport, in a rental automobile, at your pal’s home, in a university lecture corridor, at a convention. Hauling across the essential charger and cable in your “wireless” charging is even worse than carrying an bizarre wired charger.

Sure, some venues now have them in-built, together with espresso retailers and airports, however you do not need to roll the cube on availability. Chances are good, you’d lose.

Wireless chargers are also costlier, typically bulkier and may be finicky about cellphone placement, even with Apple’s MagSafe expertise to align your cellphone higher. On a number of events I’ve woken up within the morning or pushed for hours and found that wi-fi charging did not work.

Wired charging additionally is quicker, wastes much less power and does not depart my cellphone piping sizzling.

If Apple ever dumps its now archaic Lightning port and embraces USB-C port on iPhones, as I anticipate it should, its charging and knowledge port turns into extra helpful. I already use USB-C to cost my MacE book Pro, iPad Pro, Framework laptop computer, Sony noise-canceling earphones, Pixel 6 Pro cellphone, Pixel Buds Pro earbud case, and Nintendo Switch recreation console and controllers. When I’m touring, I all the time have a USB-C charger with me, and I anticipate USB-C ports to grow to be extra frequent in airports, planes, motels, vehicles and cafes. Don’t maintain your breath for a wi-fi charging pad jammed into an financial system class seat.

“There is no question that USB-C is long overdue on an iPhone especially given it is on iPad and Mac,” Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi stated. “It is not always possible to do wireless or MagSafe.”

iPhone knowledge switch velocity

The comfort of wi-fi knowledge switch makes it the norm for telephones. Gone are the times after we wanted to plug our telephones into our laptops to synchronize and again up knowledge. 


But should you’re a kind of inventive varieties Apple reveals in each iPhone launch occasion, capturing 4K video in your indie film, you may admire wired knowledge switch to get that video onto your laptop computer quicker. That’s very true should you’re capturing with Apple’s ProRes video.

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A 1-minute ProRes clip I shot recently is 210MB; imagine how fast you’ll plow through the gigabytes if you’re shooting more seriously. Wired connections can be nice for transferring lots of photos, too, using a tool like Apple’s Image Capture utility or Adobe’s Lightroom photo editing and cataloging software.

Wired earbuds if you can’t afford AirPods

I know, I know, AirPods or some other wireless earbuds these days are a booming business. But wired headphones remain useful. They’re even a retro fashion statement for some.

I like them because they don’t run out of battery power or suffer from Bluetooth’s flakiness. And they’re way harder to misplace or drop down a street gutter while you’re running to catch the bus.

Wired earbuds are way cheaper. Maybe you can afford $249 second-generation AirPods Pro, but not everyone can. The 3.5mm audio jack is being squeezed off smartphones, but iPhones with USB-C ports would mean it was more likely you could grab a cheap set of earbuds in the airport travel store if you forgot your AirPods.

A close-up view of an iPhone 13 Pro Lightning portA close-up view of an iPhone 13 Pro Lightning port

I’d rather have a USB-C port than this Apple Lightning port on my iPhone, but I’d prefer either compared to no port at all.

Stephen Shankand/CNET

Perhaps there’s room for compromise — one iPhone for the wireless-only crowd and another model for people like me. But Apple doesn’t like to stick consumers with confusing choices, so I’d be surprised.

The case for portless iPhones

There are, of course, some significant advantages we’d get from a portless iPhone.

It would bring a new level of sleekness and reduce the amount of cable fiddling in your life. iPhone cases would be stronger and more impervious to water and dust. Apple would get a little extra interior space it could fill with a bigger battery or other electronics.

“A portless iPhone is probably more structurally rigid and allows for more room for the Taptic Engine or speakers or maybe an antenna,” said Anshel Sag, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

Apple, which typically doesn’t discuss its future plans, didn’t comment for this story.

Advances in wireless charging and data transfer technologies make a portless iPhone conceivable. More advances are likely, too: better Wi-Fi. Wireless charging that works anywhere in a room, not just on a charging pad. The potential use of ultra wideband positioning technology for fast short-range data transfer, too.

I already enjoy today’s wireless technologies that would make a portless iPhone possible. I just think the drawbacks of relying on them exclusively outweigh the advantages.

The best future is one that keeps that charging and data port. So, Apple, please don’t ditch it, too. And while your engineers are looking at the subject, how about USB-C?

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