iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro just tipped for USB-C — but there's a big difference

iPhone 14 Pro shown from front displaying iOS16 home screen
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple's iPhone 15 is still a long way off launching, but one feature that's been widely rumored already is its move to USB-C ports from the familiar Lightning connector. And it's this rumor to which analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has just added some new details.

Kuo claims that we'll see USB-C on all four expected iPhone 15 models, which we've heard before. This move was probably inevitable given legislative pressure in the EU, U.S. and other countries to adopt a common port for mobile devices. However, what Kuo adds is that there could be a speed gap between the different models' ports.

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As Kuo tells it, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max (possibly named iPhone 15 Ultra instead) will have USB-C ports capable of high-speed data transfer, likely using the USB 3.2 or Thunderbolt 3 standard. This would make for faster offloading of photos and other files, or allow the phone to be used with an external display or other accessories, similar to what you can do with the best iPads, all of which now use USB-C.

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, however, would still operate at the same USB 2.0 speeds as current Lightning-ported iPhones, according to Kuo. So while you'll be able to power up these models using the familiar pill-shaped connector, you won't be able to move files any faster than you would on any other iPhone from the past ten years. 

As a result of this speed discrepancy, it sounds like the current gap between Pro and non-Pro iPhones is going to get even wider. The iPhone 14 series is already very different from the iPhone 14 Pro, using a different display, different cameras, a different chipset and a notch instead of a Dynamic Island. A slower USB-C port would make this list even longer.

The list of iPhone 15 rumors is already surprisingly long. We've heard that the Pro model could lack main camera lens upgrades, but also get a periscope telephoto camera for enhanced zoom. There have also been suggestions that there could be an A16 chipset in the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, while only the Pro models will get a brand-new, more powerful chip.

Some have even claimed there could be a portless iPhone 15 too, one with solid-state buttons instead of normal volume and power keys, but those seem to be less likely given the weight of USB-C rumors.

Whatever we end up getting, we likely won't be finding out until next fall, Apple's long-established launch window for new premium iPhones. But we'll be keeping an eye out for more rumors in the meantime. Keep up to date by checking out our iPhone 15 hub and iPhone 15 Ultra hub. 

Next: The iPhone just got an official deadline to switch from Lightning to USB-C.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.