We've already heard a lot of rumours about the iPhone 14. From a return of Touch ID to a new, notch-less design, there's been no end of speculation about what's to come, but we've just heard a rumour for something that would be perhaps the most radical change yet suggested. A regular Apple leaker now claims the company is considering the possibility of including a USB-C connector on the Pro version of its next phone.
If the rumour's true, it would be a radical departure from Apple's insistence on sticking to its own Lightning connector, and it would please plenty of users who resent having to buy Apple's Lightning accessories for their phones (if you're looking for a deal on an iPhone yourself, or any Apple product for that matter, make sure you see our guide to Apple Black Friday).
The Lightning connector was first introduced in 2012 on the iPhone 5 as a slimmer replacement for the old 30-pin connect. It remains the standard way to both charge iPhones and connect them to other devices, although we now also have MagSafe wireless charging. While Apple has moved its MacBook Pro and iPad Pro models to USB-C, until now it's remained steadfast on maintaining the Lightning connector across its iPhone range (see our iPhone 13 review and iPhone 13 Pro review).
But there are several reasons why Apple might be considering changing that. The Apple leaker LeaksApplePro has written on idropnews that there are questions of performance, but also potential legal and environmental reasons.
In terms of performance, the ability to record video in RAW format with Apple's ProRes, which has arrived with the iPhone 13, implies truly huge file sizes that require regular offloading from the device. When it comes to transfer speeds, USB-C can outrun Apple's Lightning by ten times, offering transfer rates of up to 5Gbps (625MBps) compared with just 480Mbps (60MBps).
There are legal and environmental factors too. the European Commission has passed legislation to oblige phone makers to use USB-C chargers. Apple could try to fight that, or circumvent it by providing adaptors, for example, but it might be a battle it prefers to avoid. Including adaptors could also be seen to contradict its claims to be improving sustainability by no longer shipping phones with chargers in the box. On the contrary, switching to USB-C would help reduce waste by creating a universal charging option for both MacBooks and iPhones.
We think the move makes good sense. While some will no doubt suggest Apple should just skip USB-C and go directly to portless iPhones with MagSafe wireless changing alone, for practical reasons, a lot of users won't be happy to ditch cables yet.
For more rumours on what we can expect from Apple's next phone, see our complete guide to everything we know about the Apple iPhone 14. In the meantime, Apple's latest models already offer incredible performance in a handset. If you're looking for an iPhone 12 or the new iPhone 13, see the best current prices below, or check out our guides to the best iPhone 12 Black Friday deals and iPhone 13 Black Friday deals.