The upcoming iPhone 14 line will almost certainly be a powerful step forward – and the iPhone 14 Pro will be the flagship of the line.
The Pro is ready to come with powerful cameras, the faster, more modern processor and the best screen technology – where the iPhone 14 ‘basic’ model comes with an older CPU and probably less suitable cameras to save money where users may not have need all advanced spec.
However, the latest rumor has given me a break: according to ‘unnamed sources’ from iDropNews, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max will have the same upgraded Lightning Port, which debuted on the original iPad Pro, which used USB 3.0 technology to deliver far-larger speeds than the old USB 2.0 port that iPhones still use.
While a major upgrade – it can provide up to 10 times faster data transfer – it’s still a world away from the speeds that the USB-C ports used on current iPad Pro and iPad Air tablets can offer.
Apple has been adamant in sticking to the Lightning port since its launch in 2012 – while EU rules say it must eventually start using USB-C ports in its iPhones, there is no set date for when that will happen, and Apple is likely to resist for as long as it can.
Why? Because it earns so much from licensing its technology to allow manufacturers to make Lightning-friendly accessories. It has built an ecosystem of compatibility that any brand would be reluctant to release. So with that in mind, an iPhone with the same USB-C connector found in the iPad Pro seems very unlikely.
But that reluctance (if it’s true, and it’s a big if, when working with ‘unnamed sources’) will give me a real problem if it happens.
This year seems very likely to be the first to see iPhones launched on different chipsets (well, you could point to the iPhone 5C that came with the iPhone 5S, but they were very different phones) and it would be the clearest indication yet that Apple is trying to separate the iPhone 14 Pro from the cheaper model.
That’s fine – and honestly it makes a lot of sense. The iPhone Pro line has been too close to the performance and specifications of the base models for many years, with only the camera and more RAM making the main differences.
Making the advanced, expensive phone more powerful and desirable for creatives and those who need more grunts in their device, especially if it delivers features that the iPhone 14 cannot, will make the Pro a much easier upgrade for people as filmmakers , who want all the power and camera skills to make their jobs easier.
So if the rumors are true and Apple sticks to the Lightning port, then it lacks a real trick. The USB-C connection would deliver much faster speeds for those who need it for their job, and would not be a lure for those who just want a good phone – ie. the masses who will continue to buy Lightning accessories.
Those who would need the USB-C sports iPhone 14 Pro – such as the aforementioned creatives – would also have the right equipment to get the most out of the upgraded speeds, where many others would not really benefit from the higher speeds.
I tested the iPhone 13 Pro Max (with the older Lightning connector) against the new iPad Air 2022, which has USB-C.
The former managed to transfer a 320MB file at 8.25MB / s, while the latter came up to 10.5MB / s, both connected to a USB-C port on my laptop.
It’s not a big difference (though it will still result in many minutes being saved on a 20-minute 4K file being copied), but better equipment – with advanced Macs and better connections, like those creative often invest in – would see a greater difference in reading speeds.
Another reason why Apple should monkey the iPad Pro and bring the USB-C connector to the iPhone 14 Pro.
Of course, that is not going to happen, most of the reasons mentioned above. And that’s really a shame, as an iPhone 14 Pro with USB-C would have been a real leap forward and made it a really attractive phone for professionals.
Not to mention the ease it would bring to many people’s lives. USB-C is becoming a common standard worldwide (including for iPads, which many iPhone owners want), and losing the Lightning cable would eliminate another headache for users.