It's basically a foregone conclusion that Apple won't be making
an iPhone with USB-C, so a robotics student has made his own.
In a short video posted on YouTube, Ken Pillonel, a master's degree student in
robotics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, has shown
off what looks to be an iPhone X or XS with a USB-C port where the
lightning port would be. In the video, Pillonel shows the iPhone
charging and transferring data when a MacBook Pro USB-C power
adapter is plugged in.
To switch out the port, Pillonel reverse-engineered Apple's C94
connector on the USB-C-to-Lightning cable to make a custom printed
circuit board with a female USB C port small enough to fit inside
the iPhone. He then was able to attach the board to the iPhone's
logic board. It's obviously not something the average iPhone user
should or even could attempt, but it's a fascinating look into how
difficult it is to create even small components in the products we
use every day.
USB-C in the iPhone is something of a hot-button issue after the
European Commission proposed a new rule that would force
smartphones to use USB-C for charging. Even though it's likely
years away, there's a possibility that Apple would be forced to
swap out Lightning for USB-C on the iPhone some years down the
road, so Pillonel's video is a neat proof of concept that shows how
Apple could bring USB-C without sacrificing any of the other
components in the phone.
While the video is just 40 seconds long, Pillonel says he is
currently editing the full-length video to detail the entire
process, so if you're interested, you should subscribe to his channel. Pillonel says he is
looking for a master's thesis project to begin in March 2022, but
something tells me he may have just found it.