Update: Apple may be forced to use USB-C on iPhone by 2024.
A fresh iPhone 14 Pro rumor claims Apple will stick with the Lightning port for the 2022 line-up — but that the new model will at least be capable of faster wired data transfer, thanks to a new Lightning connector.
Leaker LeaksApplePro (opens in new tab), writing for iDropNews (opens in new tab), says that the iPhone 14 Pro's Lightning port will get an updated USB 3.0 connection standard, changed from the current USB 2.0. You can send files at 480 Mbps with USB 2.0, but at up to 5 Gbps with 3.0, making it more than 10 times as fast. This would make offloading files, photos and videos onto another device far snappier.
Apple's been using USB 3.0 on the iPad Pro and other USB-C iPads for a number of years to help users transfer large files onto their premium tablet. Not so for the iPhone, though, even when it got its first Pro model in 2019.
LAP said that while they were able to confirm with their anonymous sources that the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max would get this new port, it wasn't clear whether the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max would or not. You can make the case for either scenario, based on what we've previously heard.
Obviously, all four rumored iPhone 14 models will share a large amount of DNA, and that could extend to the charging port technology. However, this year it appears Apple is making more of an effort to differentiate the Pro and non-Pro iPhones, based on our iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro preview.
Aside from the usual extra telephoto camera on the back, a 120Hz display and additional memory as before, the iPhone 14 Pros have been tipped to get a new A16 chipset while the normal versions could stick with the A15 chip from the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Pro series could also get a larger 48MP main camera and new pill and punch-hole cut-outs to replace the Face ID notch. So it wouldn't be surprising if an improved USB 3.0 Lightning port became another Pro-exclusive.
It's disappointing to hear Apple could be keeping Lightning for another year, despite it apparently testing several USB-C prototypes. While Apple may have to ditch Lightning sooner or later to comply with expected EU regulations on universal charging, it seems more likely that it will move to a wireless charging-only design, based on continuing rumors of Apple working on a portless iPhone, rather than move to USB-C.
Then again, this is just a rumor, and we have heard plenty of suggestions that the iPhone 14 Pro models, at least, will get USB-C. All we know for certain is that we'll find out for sure this fall — when Apple should be revealing its new iPhones as normal.
Until then, check out our iPhone 14 hub and iPhone 14 Pro hub for all the latest rumors and leaks.