Apple’s Dream for iPhones Could Actually Be a Nightmare

This story is part of Focus iPhone 2022CNET’s collection of news, tips and advice on Apple’s most popular product.

That iPhone 14 smartphones Taking Apple’s quest for a portless phone one step further, making the new models slimmer and stronger by removing the SIM card slot and SIM card slot relies on eSIM chips.

Gone is another mechanical vulnerability to dust and water after Apple decided to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack starting in 2016 Physical home button dumping 2017 onwards. Projecting into the future, one might expect Apple to drop the charging and data port next, ushering in the era of the portless iPhone.

I hope not.

I’m all for progress, but I think it’s best if we keep some of those copper cables in our lives — even if that goes against the idea of ​​a sleek and seamless device that Apple is striving for and is now becoming feasible as CNET senior editor Lisa Eadicicco mention, that.

Sleek sounds great, but listen to me. There are three major issues with a portless iPhone: charging inconvenience, slow data transfer, and rejection of wired earbuds. Here’s a look at the situation.

Shortcomings in wireless charging of iPhones

The first major problem with a portless iPhone is that it would be more difficult to charge.

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You may have charging pads in the kitchen, in the office, in your car, and maybe even on the nightstand by your bed. However, you need to charge your phone somewhere else: at the airport, in a rental car, at your friend’s house, in a university lecture hall, at a conference. Lugging around the necessary charger and cable for your “wireless” charging is even worse than carrying an ordinary wired charger.

Sure, some venues have them built in now, including cafes and airports, but you don’t want to roll the dice on availability. Chances are you would lose.

Wireless chargers are also more expensive, often bulkier, and can be finicky about phone placement, even with Apple’s MagSafe technology to better align your phone. On several occasions I’ve woken up in the morning or driven for hours to find that the wireless charging wasn’t working.

Wired charging is also faster, wastes less energy and doesn’t make my phone get hot.

If Apple ever ditches its now-archaic Lightning port and embraces the USB-C port on iPhones, as I expect, its charging and data port will become more useful. I already use USB-C to charge my MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, Framework laptops, Sony noise canceling earbuds, Pixel 6 Pro phone, Pixel Buds Pro earbud case, and Nintendo Switch gaming console and controller. I always carry a USB-C charger with me when I travel, and I expect USB-C ports to become more common in airports, planes, hotels, cars, and coffee shops. Don’t hold your breath for a wireless charging pad wedged in an economy class seat.

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“There’s no question USB-C is long overdue on an iPhone, especially considering it’s on iPad and Mac,” said Carolina Milanesi, analyst at Creative Strategies. “It’s not always possible to go wireless or MagSafe.”

iPhone data transfer speed

The convenience of wireless data transfer makes it the norm for phones. Gone are the days when we had to connect our phones to our laptops to sync and back up data.

But if you’re one of those creative types that Apple shows off at every iPhone launch event and shoot 4K video for your indie film, you’ll appreciate the wired data transfer to get that video to your laptop faster. This is especially true when recording with Apple’s ProRes video.

A 1 minute ProRes clip I shot recently is 210MB; Imagine how quickly you’ll be plowing through the gigabytes as you take more serious photos. Wired connections can also be good for transferring lots of photos, 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 are a booming business these days. But wired headphones remain useful. For some, they’re even a retro fashion statement.

I like them because they don’t run out of battery power or suffer from the flakiness of Bluetooth. And it’s much harder to misplace them or fall into a gully while running to the bus.

Wired earbuds are much cheaper. You might be able to afford second-gen AirPods Pro for $249, but not everyone can afford them. The 3.5mm audio jack is being supplanted by smartphones, but iPhones with USB-C ports would mean you’re more likely to be able to snag a cheap pair of earbuds at the airport travel store if you forgot your AirPods.

A closeup of an iPhone 13 Pro Lightning connector

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

Stephen Shankand/CNET

Maybe there’s room for compromise – an iPhone for the wireless-only crowd and a different model for people like me. But Apple doesn’t like to overwhelm consumers with confusing choices, so I’d be surprised.

The case for portless iPhones

There are, of course, some significant benefits that we would get from a portless iPhone.

It would bring a new level of smoothness and reduce the amount of tangles in your life. iPhone cases would be stronger and more resistant to water and dust. Apple would get a little more internal space that it could fill with a larger battery or other electronics.

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

Apple, which doesn’t usually talk about its future plans, hasn’t commented on this story.

Advances in wireless charging and data transfer technologies make a portless iPhone conceivable. Other advances are also likely: better Wi-Fi. Wireless charging that works anywhere in the room, not just on a charging pad. Also, the potential use of ultra-wideband positioning technology for high-speed, short-distance data transmission.

I’m already enjoying today’s wireless technologies that would allow for a portless iPhone. I just think that the disadvantages of relying solely on them outweigh the advantages.

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

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