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First portless iPhone might follow the iPhone 12

Published May 26th, 2020 7:31AM EDT

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  • iPhone 12 specs will include a regular Lightning port that can be used for battery charging, data transfers, and wired headphones.
  • A leaker claims that Apple had a USB-C prototype in the works, but the company doesn’t plan to change the connector on iPhones.
  • The iPhone 13 might be the first iPhone series to feature a portless iPhone, the same person suggested, echoing similar remarks from other leakers.

The future of smart devices is wireless. The dawn of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 will make data transfer faster than ever when an internet connection is present. But moving large chunks of data between devices without a wired or internet connection to intermediate the transfer could soon become a reality. Moreover, next-gen wireless charging tech could work across long distances, and make charging pads forgotten. It may sound like tech from sci-fi movies, but the building blocks of all these wireless technologies are already in place. And Apple might make the next move towards that future with the kind of baby step we all expect to see soon, an iPhone that features no ports whatsoever.

The iPhone 12 that’s due this fall could be one of the last iPhone generations to feature ports of any kind. A new report says the iPhone 12 will not make the switch to USB-C, as some people might hope. Apple is sticking with Lightning for at least one more year, as one of next year’s iPhone 13 models could ditch the Lightning connector as well.

Leaker Fudge, who posted in early April a schematic of the purported iPhone 12 Pro design, complete with a smaller notch and a LiDAR camera on the back, took to Twitter to suggest that Apple had a USB-C prototype for the iPhone 12.

The leaker’s mention of a smart connector for the iPhone 13 may be about an iPhone 12 design leak that circulated online recently, showing a phone with an iPad-like quick connector on the side of the phone where the SIM card goes.

In a follow-up tweet, Fudge said that the smart connector won’t be used for charging purposes, as wireless charging will be the portless iPhone 13’s primary way to recharge the battery.

Well-known leaker Jon Prosser said in mid-April that the iPhone 12 won’t feature a smart connector as seen in some leaks, adding that the feature will be found on a future prototype “for charging on a portless iPhone.”

Prosser also said at the time that the iPhone 12 will not make the switch to USB-C, and noted that “Apple will go portless before they go USB-C.” Technically, Apple went USB-C for the iPad Pro, but that’s a different story.

The YouTuber turned Apple leaker said a few days ago that one portless iPhone is coming next year, excluding the possibility for Apple to use USB-C anytime soon. “Eventually, they’ll all be portless,” he said.

Prosser explained in one of his scoops that Apple’s seemingly abandoned AirPower universal charger is essential for the future of the iPhone, and that’s why Apple hasn’t given up on launching such a device.

Separately, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a research note that Apple would drop the Lightning connector from 2021 iPhones, without specifying at the time whether Apple would go portless or USB-C.

There are other signs that a portless iPhone is in the making. Apple is rumored to ditch the EarPods for the iPhone 12, a move that’s meant to boost AirPods sales. But it can also be an indication of what’s to come in the not so distant future. Apple is also working on faster short-range wireless connectivity that could come in handy on a portless iPhone.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.