Earlier today a report from Bloomberg detailed how Apple has struggled to make its AirPower wireless charger, running into unexpected “technical hurdles” that caused it to be delayed. The report also dropped in an unexpected nugget that wasn’t known until now: Apple considered removing the Lightning connector from the iPhone X.
“During the development of the iPhone X, Apple weighed removing the wired charging system entirely,” said Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. “That wasn’t feasible at the time because wireless charging was still lower than traditional methods. Including a wireless charger with new iPhones would also significantly raise the price of the phones.”
It seems Apple explored the thought of just going completely wireless with the iPhone X in omitting any port that wasn’t necessary. As Gurman notes, there are still many technical hurdles it had to clear, like wireless charging speeds, which can be much slower than traditional charging methods.
With the benefit of hindsight, the decision to keep the Lightning connector looks even better considering the unexpected delay of Apple’s AirPower. Just imagine if the port had been eliminated and the charger was concurrently delayed; it would have been an absolute PR nightmare for Apple. As things stand, it doesn’t look good that the wireless charger has been missing since its announcement ten months ago.
But Apple is not one to mince words and when it wants to eliminate a port, more often than not it pushes forward. It did so with the headphone jack even though it was criticized heavily for the decision.
As is the case for most of Apple’s decisions, eliminating the headphone jack ended up working out. Most smartphone manufacturers have followed suit in excluding the port and Apple’s solution to the problem, AirPods, have proven to be a smash hit.
Despite Apple’s decision to keep the Lightning port, the report solidifies the reality that eventually a traditional charging port will not be included in a future iPhone model.