Looking to the future: It doesn’t look like Apple will switch the iPhone’s Lightning port to USB-C on its own. However, that does not mean that it can prevent passionate individuals from doing so. A Swiss student was able to modify his iPhone X to the point of having a fully functional USB-C port.
While most phone makers today outfit their devices with a USB-C port, Apple is still hesitant to switch from its proprietary Lightning solution to the widely used connector. There are plenty of potential reasons for this, including the endless confusion around USB-C cables and their exact capabilities, as well as the vast ecosystem of accessories that still use Lightning and bring Apple a steady stream of revenue from customers. license fees.
Since the Cupertino giant doesn’t seem in a rush to embrace USB-C on its best-selling device, hardware enthusiasts have turned to modding to make it happen. This is the case of robotic engineering student Ken Pillonel, who successfully replaced the Lightning connector on an iPhone X with a fully functional USB-C port.
Pillonel, who holds a master’s degree from EPFL, revealed the feat in a short YouTube video titled “The World’s First USB-C iPhone X”, where he quickly demonstrates that the new connector can be used for both charging and data transfers. To achieve this, Pillonel had to devote several months to reverse-engineering Apple’s C94 connector, as well as miniaturizing the flexible daughter card that connects the power and data lines to the female USB-C connector.
In a previous update released in May, Pillonel showcased a prototype of the daughterboard that was just too big to fit in the iPhone X, even though it was already able to charge at that point. Pillonel is currently working on a more detailed video explanation of how this was achieved, but it is not yet known when it will be uploaded.
It goes without saying that this mod is not a project that most people could tackle on their own. Yet the results come just as the European Commission is pushing to revise the legislation and mandate the use of USB-C on almost all mobile devices, except portable devices and other devices where wireless charging is more convenient. Once this is in effect, Apple will have two years to comply.