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iPhone 13 leak reveals new details about portless model

iPhone 13/iPhone 12S concept
(Image credit: Jermaine Smit/LetsGoDigital)

Since ditching the headphone jack back in 2016, it has long been rumored that Apple has similar ambitions for the charging port, and that the iPhone 13 lineup will include at least one portless model

As well as overcoming consumer resistance to a handset that relies exclusively on wireless charging, there are other practical concerns to overcome — like what happens if your iPhone 13 needs to be recovered. A new report from Appleosophy shows that Apple has given this plenty of thought, and has a number of alternatives lined up under the collective banner of “Internet Recovery”. 

As the name suggests, Internet Recovery involves restoring an unresponsive iPhone wirelessly. The first flavor of this involves an owner putting their handset into a manual recovery mode which, once triggered, broadcasts a signal for nearby Macs and PCs with iTunes installed. From there, the user jumps on their computer and follows the usual prompts to restore the handset over the air.

The second method is similar, only in this version the iPhone 13 would put itself into recovery mode automatically, making it that bit easier for less tech savvy users to complete. The third method is reportedly to do the same thing using Bluetooth both to broadcast and download data — but this is considered a “last resort” by Apple, thanks not only to its relative slowness, but also a lack of reliability and security concerns.

Apple’s preference is therefore apparently for the first two options, but even then it’s not exactly speedy with test images reportedly taking 2.5 times longer than via a cable. For that reason, the company is also said to have instructed its developers to consider pogo pads for a physical connection — possibly on the back of the SIM card slot, which would require a custom SIM card tray cable for access. Progress on this is reportedly hampered as the team working on the problem isn’t allowed to make housing modifications.

All of this sounds like a lot of hassle to remove a port when there’s little consumer demand for the change. Removing the Lightning port spells the end for wired headphones, display-out cables, various power banks and more.

Does this mean there will be a consumer revolt if Apple does introduce a portless iPhone 13? We shall have to see, but as it’s likely to be on the most feature packed iPhone 13 Pro Max, we’d be surprised if Apple enthusiasts were too perturbed. After all, dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack didn’t seem to hurt the iPhone 7 and its successors. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.