When will iPhone go portless? New clues surface

It would seem only a matter of time before the iPhone is released without a Lightning port. Rumors over the past several years suggest that Apple's inclusion of Qi-standard wireless charging abilities in the iPhone point toward a completely port-free collection of handheld communication devices. An insider tip this week says Apple's not quite there yet with the iPhone 12 for 2020, but might be ready to roll in 2021.

The first iPhone had a rather unwieldy connector – wide, flat, and odd. That connector also worked with the iPad and the iPod Touch. While basically every other sort of smartphone and tablet in the world worked with micro-USB, Apple stayed the course with their massive 30-pin connector until they switched – not to a standard USB, but a Lightning Connector.

iPhone 12 axe of Earpods could lead to an all-wireless device

The rest of the world moved to USB-C, and Apple included USB-C in their MacBook lineup. It seemed inevitable that the iPhone and iPad would eventually roll with USB-C as well. But it was not to be. Instead, Apple continued to use their own proprietary plug, the Lightning plug, until now, when it seems they'll move on to... a smart connector.

The same sort of smart connector system that's used on the iPad Pro – pogo pins, and potentially magnets, will be involved. Imagine a world where the iPhone 13 can charge wirelessly and is expected to transfer data (and connect to most other things) via a set of tiny metal circles on its bottom or back?

It's expected that the iPhone 12 will be released with a Lightning USB system not unlike that of the iPhone 11, X, and etcetera. You'll find headlines this week about how shocking it is that Apple won't move to USB-C, but really, that wasn't particularly likely unless Apple was forced to implement the port by regulators. Take a peek at the timeline below for more recent updates on the situation.