“First they came for the bulky 30-pin docking connector. Then the 3.5mm headphone jack was removed from the iPhone,” Ewan Spence writes for Forbes. “What will Apple remove next? A newly granted patent published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office offers another clue. In a bid to reduce the physical imperfections on the iPhone’s external design, Apple could drop the lightning port.”

“Patent #9,453,976 was granted today, and details a system where data could flow between two devices through an optical interface,” Spence writes. “This would use a series of tiny holes that in concert would allow enough optical information to pass through… Presumably some form of magnetic connector would be used to position a ‘data cable’ to pick up the visual signal. I’d also expect this connector to charge the iPhone through induction.”

“Removing the lightning port would not be seen as a hugely disruptive step – not least because those protesting it would be reheating the arguments used in the loss of the 3.5mm headphone jack. Apple has already set out that it wants a world without wires. Cabled audio devices are now historical artefacts to be pitied and there’s no mass uprising in the genteel press to suggest that Cook misjudged the consumer mood,” Spence writes. “Next year’s presumptively titled iPhone 8 is the tenth-anniversary smartphone from Apple and is already expected to bring huge changes (including curved screens, OLED displays, and fewer hardware buttons). The tech world is primed for something ambitious.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Physical ports must die. And only Apple has the courage to do the killing.

Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. — Steve Jobs

Apple VP calls 3.5mm headphone jack ‘a dinosaur,’ says ‘it’s time to move on’ – September 8, 2016