Why Wait For Apple? Upgrade Your IPhone With USB-C Today!

Apple iPhones ship with the company’s Lightning cable, a capable and robust connector, but one that’s not cheap and is only useful for the company’s products. When the competition had only micro-USB it might have made sense, but now that basically all new non-fruity phones ship with USB-C, that’s probably the right way to go.

[Ken Pilonell] has addressed this by modifying his iPhone to sport a USB connector. The blog post and the first video below the break show us the proof of concept, but an update in the works and a teaser video show that he made it.

We’re a bit hazy on the individual iPhone model involves, but the essence of the work involves taking the internals of a Lightning-to-USB-C cable and hooking it up to the phone’s internal Lightning port. The proof-of-concept does it by putting the Apple flexible PCB outside the phone and plugging the cable part in directly, but it seems his final work involves a custom flexible board on which the reverse-engineered USB-C converter parts are mounted along with the USB-C socket itself. We see a glimpse of machining the slot in the phone’s case to USB-C dimensions, and we can’t wait for the full second installment.

It’s purely coincidental, but this comes against a backdrop of the European Union preparing to mandate USB-C on all applicable devices.

Thanks [Itay] for the tip!

22 thoughts on “Why Wait For Apple? Upgrade Your IPhone With USB-C Today!

      1. I’ve had to replace half a dozen lightning cables for the one iPhone in our household vs a single USB-C that got bent a the connector due to a drop. Anecdotal, sure, but I’d tat USB-C any day.

        Somehow, all my MicroUSB cables are broken, all the time. It’s like some inverse Schrodinger’s cat – It doesn’t matter if you just got a new one – it’s broken when you try to use it.

        1. To some extent the connectors ARE designed to fail easily. It’s a lot cheaper if the cable end fails, rather than the socket in the phone. Especially for Apple as they carry their own extended warranty.

          1. But thats where the lightning design has the simple sturdy part on the cable and the weaker part in the phone. The reason USB C cables fail is they are designed to be weaker than the phone.

        2. On the other side, while I’ve replaced numerous lightning cables (although fewer than usb-b micros) the ports in the iPhones have always worked. Meanwhile, I have had to replace tablets and other devices when the ports failed. A poor trade given how cheap cables are and how expensive tablets are.

      2. Both are crap connectors for headphones, and the reason I haven’t gotten rid of my iPhone 6S yet.
        lighting isn’t bad, but nothing I’d expect not to break in short order on a dongle in my pocket.
        USB-C is fine as long as you gaff tape it in place, and don’t have anything mission critical that will shit the bed if it comes detached. I’m still on a 2015 Macbook, but I’m just assuming all the new lappys come with a little roll of gaff tape to secure those USB-C connectors in place?

        1. Apple’s products are engineered to be repaired and make them money: use as a service (and not just getting roped into their app store ecosystem and the phone carrier kickbacks they receive) and having to use cables exclusive to the device, while clever, is damnable and shows gross lack of integrity. Remember that this is the same company that had an exclusive contract with AT&T for years when the iPhone debuted, slapped a premium on the product, excluded the ability to insure the product (unheard of at the time), and did away with port protectors (made to prevent water damage–the early models had litmus paper-like indicators that could detect if water had entered the device from both the charger port and headphone jack). I was seduced by the serpent and took a bite of the apple a long time ago; I came to my senses and decided I won’t make the same mistake again.

  1. Pointless no benefit in it at all. Not going to make data transfer any faster at all. Don’t think usb c is that great itself. The amount of chrome books and laptop I fix because of usb c breaking or coming away from the pcb damaging the pcb too.

    1. There is most certainly a benefit to throwing out all of the lightning cables in your house. Who wants the extra clutter? I don’t see any point to having cables that only work with one thing.

    1. Who cares about a connector that you can’t actually use or even purchase.

      Why don’t you write an article on how to replace the USBC connector in your Android phone with a lightning connector? Oops, sorry you can’t actually get lightning connectors.

    2. That’s why we have a closet full of iPhones with broken lightning sockets at my company. That’s why lightning cables tend to burn in one pin if you use a 2 amps charger .

      Much less issue with phones with usb-c

    3. For the record, I would pay good money for a phone that used DB13w3 (power variant). 30A charging contacts, spaced out so you could put any reasonable voltage on them, plenty of pins for differential data or whatever, and ludicrously mechanically robust (especially if you spec a waterproof version). Phone side should have provisions for thumbscrews.

  2. My whole family only gets wsken usb cables, iphone or android. My old s2(s3?) Tablets Are micro USB (debloat stock OS runs faster than a new S, let alone an A, ick), as are the battery banks and Bluetooth speakers

    Iphone/ipad get the magnet, and the USB C devices have an adapter too.

    I wind up spending 50 a year on cables between the car, 3 house charging stations and a dozen or so devices. But never opening a device to replace the port is worth it.

    Nothing is perfect and there is an issue with ferrous materials getting stuck in the magnets and melting the contacts, but still, that can be dealt with quickly, not an hour with a heat gun. They are only $6-7 apiece with the connector ordered direct from China. To be really robust you can pop the magnet off and glue it back on before the tabs pop off.

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