The images, apparently of the charging board for the iPhone 15 Plus, back up what we've heard rumored several times already: that Apple will ditch Lightning ports after ten years, and move the new iPhone 15 series (and possibly the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus too) to USB-C, as it's been doing with iPads over the past several years. And just in time too, since the European Union's law ordering electronic devices to use a common charging port will go into force next year.
But complicating this is a mystery 3LD3 chip also present on the charging board. This is an Apple-designed chip according to Majin Bu, and therefore it's hard to know what it does. Bu's hunch is that it's for "transmission encryption," to protect data being transferred through the port, but an Apple-specific chip on a connector like this has set alarm bells ringing.
Apple could be introducing limitations
While USB-C is a very common port, there have been rumors and more general fears that Apple will be doing its best to ensure its current Made for iPhone (MFi) program still exercises control over what will work properly with iPhones.
It's been tipped that Apple could limit the performance of USB-C cables and accessories that it hasn't approved with the iPhone 15. The idea is apparently that while any USB-C accessory will work with the iPhone, only those made by companies with an Apple license will get access to the full data and charging speeds. This could be illegal under the EU's common charger law according to EU legislators, but they don't know any more about Apple's plans than we do.
This is obviously not confirmed yet, and even the rumors are not that well-supported. But considering how Apple's been hanging on to the aging Lightning port for as long as it reasonably can in order to keep users and companies using its proprietary tech, we've got cause to think Apple could spoil the iPhone 15's USB-C transition.
We likely won't hear confirmation of the precise details of the iPhone 15's USB-C ports at the Apple September event where the phones are expected to debut. But we should still see Apple talk up the new port on the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, as well as other big upgrades like the Pro models' Action button and A17 Bionic chipset.