First, Apple killed the headphone jack starting with iPhone 7 and now a new report claims that the Lightning port may be the next to go extinct.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is considered removing the Lightning port on the iPhone X, citing unnamed "people familiar with the company's work."
The report from Bloomberg is based on the findings Apple faces with its AirPower wireless charger, but it also shares some details about Apple's vision for a wireless future.
Apple may be working towards an iPhone with no buttons and ports, and is completely wireless. But there are challenges that Apple has to overcome to make this possible. Though, there are some wireless alternatives (like wireless charging, and connection over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi), not all of them are as great or simple as using a wire.
Earlier rumours suggested that Apple could change the shape of its Lightning connector which has been the standard port for charging billions of devices including iPhones, iPads and iPod touch.
According to the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), Apple in a pair of patent applications revealed that it will change the shape of its Lighting connector to focus more on water resistance.
Apple believes that even if some of its devices are water-resistant devices such as iPhone, they can still be exposed to water damage if they get wet while charging.
Apple claims that by changing the new ubiquitous connector to a wedge-shape design, it will create a tight vacuum seal, which can further be strengthened with the addition of a generator and pistons inside the device.
With the new connector in place, unplugging your iDevice in future would require breaking the vacuum seal, something Apple proposes will be done by a software interface on the phone.
And while, Apple has been working on this new connector since the first quarter of 2017, and the development could be more advanced than we know right now, however, there’s no official proof yet.
Notably, the 2018 iPhone design changes are already finalised and all models have a Lightning port. Apple will reportedly launch three new iPhones – an upgraded iPhone X, a bigger variant of the updated iPhone X, and a low-cost iPhone which will sport iPhone X’s slim-bezeled screen design accompanied by an LCD display.
All the three devices are said to pack Face ID for security instead of Touch ID. The larger version of iPhone X is expected to have 6.5-inches screen as compared to 5.8 inches of the current iPhone X. The company is also said to have testing prototypes of the larger model with a display resolution of 2688 x 1242.
According to media reports, Apple is also exploring the idea of adding dual-SIM support to the upcoming iPhone and is working towards implementing eSIM technology in the iPhone. eSIM allows devices to connect to cellular data networks without inserting a traditional, carrier-provided SIM card. Google’s Pixel 2 phones utilize eSIM for Project Fi customers.
Apple has ordered more screen panels for the iPhone X Plus than any other model. It forecasts 45 million 6.46-inch panels, about 25 million panels for the 5.8-inch iPhone X successor, and 30 million 6.04-inch LCD screens for the new lower-priced flagship, a report in the Korean publication The Bell has said.
According to the supply chain sources, these forecasts are always subject to change and Apple has always adjusted orders in response to customer demand. But, the forecast numbers certainly indicate that Apple wants iPhone X Plus to be the biggest and most popular phone in 2018.
Retailing at $999, the iPhone X sold very well last year, but still it was not able to materialise in the way some investors expected.
Few industry analysts also believe that Apple may go for a price cut for the higher end models to push sales for the new iPhone X Plus.
According to Counterpoint Research, Apple’s iPhone X remained the best-selling smartphone in March, dominating the whole first quarter to be the top smartphone. The sales of iPhone 8 Plus improved during March, due to a push from Apple making it the second best-selling smartphone globally.