Port-free iPhones might arrive sooner than later

Rumors began to circulate at the end of 2019 that Apple was mulling the development of port-free iPhones, which could be released as early as 2021.

Port-free iPhones? Image: Apple's Lightning port
Apple’s Lightning port

Dan Moren for Macworld:

Going portless entirely? The company has already done so on devices like the Apple Watch or the HomePod. Surely, though, the iPhone will always need a port. Or will it? More recently, it’s started to seem as though this speculation isn’t as far-fetched as some have initially thought.

One of the biggest reasons given on why Apple can’t go entirely port-less on the iPhone was the need to fall back to a hardware connection in the eventuality that a device is bricked and needs to be restored. However, the iOS 13.4 beta released just this week contains references to a hidden OS Recovery mode that appears to be designed to work wirelessly.

The European Union has once again started down the road of proposing a mandated universal charging cable for smartphones… There arises the question of whether Apple eliminating all ports from its iPhone might enable it to make an end-run around those regulations. After all, if you don’t need to plug a cable into the device to charge it, then what type of connector the phone has is moot.

MacDailyNews Take: Bring it on! Perfectly sealed, virtually waterproof, and totally wireless would be great! Port-free is how we use our iPhones today anyway. With wireless CarPlay (in supported vehicles or via inexpensive third-party adapters), we haven’t plugging anything into that Lightning port at the bottom of our current iPhones – ever. It might as well not even be there, collecting pocket lint for no good reason.


    1. I agree. I have previously listed on this site a number of reasons why going portless, i.e., 100% wireless, is just plain stupid.

      MDN if you are 100% comfortable with slower charge rates, slower backup rates, etc., etc. then good for you. Go 100% wireless. I am not, and I suspect the majority of iPhone users are not.

      If Apple wants to go with a sealed port that makes the phone fully sealed, they should invent a surface contact port that is a variant of the combination of MagSafe and TB3. That would be the best of both worlds.

  1. There needs to be some type of physical connection. For example, to record high-quality audio… Even the standard wired EarPods, with its tiny microphone on cord, records far better than the microphone(s) on AirPods, with no latency issues. And better dedicated microphones can be physically connected. There are likely other situations when a wireless connection is inadequate or not useable. However, it can still be done without having a hole in the case, by using flush magnetic contact points along the edge connecting to a “to Lightning” adapter.

  2. Steve Jobs demonstrated the problem with so-called wireless charging years ago. Too many wires! If you phone is “wireless” and you encounter a USB port that you need to charge from, what do you need to have with you?

    Wires! And a big disk thing that you wouldn’t need if you had a port.

    I am so sick of Apple complicating our lives with their “simplicity”. And MDN, you are starting to make all that “Apple kool aid” talk sound reasonable.

    1. Yep, portless / wireless phone requires the purchase of $500 in Qi power infrastructure which will fail & need to be replaced/upgraded regularly.

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