The upcoming iPhone 14 lineup is sure to be a big step forward – and the iPhone 14 Pro will be the flagship device in the lineup.
The Pro is expected to come with powerful cameras, the fastest, modern processor and the best screen tech – where the ‘base’ iPhone 14 model will come with an older processor and likely less capable cameras for saving money where users might not need all the high-end specs.
However, the latest rumor got me thinking: According to “anonymous sources” at iDropNews, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max will feature the same upgraded Lightning port that debuted on the iPad Pro in original, which used USB 3.0 technology to provide far-faster speeds than the old USB 2.0 port that iPhones still use.
While this is a significant upgrade – it could enable up to 10x faster data transfer – it’s still a world away from the speeds that USB-C ports used on iPad tablets Pro and current iPad Air could offer.
Apple has stuck with the Lightning port since its launch in 2012 – while European regulations say it will have to start using USB-C ports eventually in its iPhones, there’s no specific date as to when. it will happen and Apple will probably resist as long as possible.
Why? Because it earns a lot by licensing its technology to allow manufacturers to make Lightning-compatible accessories. It has built a compatibility ecosystem that any brand would be reluctant to lose. So with that in mind, an iPhone with the same USB-C connector as the iPad Pro seems highly unlikely.
However, this reluctance (if true, and it’s a big if when we’re working with “no-name sources”) will be a real problem for me if it materializes.
This year seems very likely to be the first to see iPhones launched on different chipsets (well, you could point to the iPhone 5C, which came with the iPhone 5S, but they were very different phones) and that would be the clearest indication yet that Apple is trying to differentiate the iPhone 14 Pro from the cheaper model.
That’s fine – and honestly, it makes a lot of sense. The iPhone Pro lineup has been too close in performance and specs to the base models for many years, with only the camera and more RAM providing the main differences.
Making the high-end, expensive phone more powerful and desirable for creatives and those who need more grunt in their device, especially if it offers capabilities the iPhone 14 can’t, will make the Pro a bet. much easier for people like filmmakers, who will want all the power and prowess of the camera to do their job more easily.
So if the rumors are true and Apple is sticking with the Lightning port, there’s a real trick missing. The USB-C connection would offer much faster speeds for those who need them for their work, and wouldn’t be a decoy for those who just want a good phone – i.e. the masses who will continue to buy Lightning accessories.
Those who would need the sporty iPhone 14 Pro USB-C – like the creatives mentioned – would also have the right gear to make the most of the improved speeds, where many others wouldn’t really benefit from the higher speeds.
I tested the iPhone 13 Pro Max (with the old Lightning connector) against the new 2022 iPad Air, which has USB-C.
The former managed to transfer a 320MB file at 8.25MB/s, where the latter reached 10.5MB/s, both plugged into a USB-C port on my laptop.
It’s not a huge difference (although it will still result in many minutes saved for a 20 minute 4K file being copied), but better equipment – with higher end Macs and better connections, like the ones in that creatives often invest in – would see a greater disparity in playback speeds.
Another reason why Apple should emulate the iPad Pro and bring the USB-C connector to the iPhone 14 Pro.
Of course, this will not happen, mainly for the reasons listed above. And that’s a shame, because an iPhone 14 Pro with USB-C would have been a real leap forward and would have made it a really attractive phone for professionals.
Not to mention the ease it would bring to many people’s lives. USB-C is becoming a common standard worldwide (including for iPads, which many iPhone owners will have) and the loss of the Lightning cable would take away an additional headache for users.