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Is Apple getting ready to abandon Lightning for a new power and data port?

Patent filings suggest that Apple is working on a new waterproof port to replace the Lightning port found on the iPhone and iPad. But does Apple need a new port?
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Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributor on

While there's no doubt that patent filings are interesting because they give you a glimpse into some of the things that secretive companies such as Apple are working on, you have to temper any enthusiasm with a healthy dose of suspicion because big companies file a lot of patents, and most of the time they have little or no intention of bringing that feature to market.

Also: How I learned to stop worrying and love USB Type-C 

Take the latest patent application spotted by Patently Apple for a new style of connector for the iPhone and iPad that's waterproof and could replace the Lightning port.

Except it almost certainly won't. And here's why.

First off, as has been demonstrated with the current iPhone, the Lightning port is already waterproof. While it might be nice to have a port that's completely impervious to water, dirt, and dust, I doubt that this is a high priority for Apple.

The Lightning port is good enough as it is.

Another reason is that Apple is already eyeing another port – the USB-C port. Not only can this be found on the new MacBooks, but it is also present on the new iPad Pro tablets.

If Apple is going to shift to a new port, it's likely to be USB-C.


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But then there's the whole issue of whether in a few years if the iPhone will need a Lightning port at all. As wireless communication and charging take over, the need for that port lessens. And the Lightning port is itself proven, and likely has another decade in it before it hits old age.

The fact is that big companies apply for a lot of patents. Most of the time the ideas never see light of day.

That's just how it is.

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