Image of iPhone 15 with USB-C port leaks, faster data transfers coming

Apple Lightning & USB-C ports

Image: NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty Images

Apple will comply with EU laws and ship an iPhone with a USB-C port in place of a Lightning connector, but so far such an iPhone has never been seen. USB-C should also support much faster data transfer speeds than Lightning.

If this leaked image by Twitter user Unkonwz21 of an iPhone 15 Pro is real (via MacRumors), this would be the first time an iPhone with a USB-C port has been seen.

Admittedly, it’s not a ground-breaking leak, as we all know what a USB-C port looks like, Apple already ships the iPad and MacBooks with USB-C ports, and Apple has already said it will comply with Europe’s common charger directive. But at least the leaked image suggests that Apple’s next iPhone will come with USB-C.


Image: Unknownz21

A month after announcing the iPhone 14 series, Greg Joswiak, Apple’s SVP of marketing, said the company would comply with the EU’s common charger directive, but argued that it would have been better for the environment and customers if it didn’t have to.

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Apple didn’t say which iPhone model would come with USB, but with EU lawmakers passing the directive in October, device makers have two years, or until October 2024, to ship compliant devices. Given the timeframe, Apple could technically make the iPhone 16 the first with a USB-C port.

Apple will also need to update the Lightning charging cases for the AirPods Max and AirPods because they’re covered by the directive, too. Reports suggest Apple is working on more affordable $99 AirPods and new AirPods Max.

Per MacRumors, the iPhone 15 Pro image shows a brushed metal finish that does support the rumor that the iPhone 15 Pro will have a titanium frame rather than stainless steel.

With USB-C set to arrive with iPhone 15, comments by Joswiak in October about Lightning being “primarily about charging” are cast in a different light. 

If Lightning is primarily about charging, it’s defensible that Apple stuck with the Lightning on the iPhone 14 series. The iPhone Pro Max has a 48-megapixel main camera sensor, yet Lightning only supports USB 2.0 speeds of up to 480Mbps. As MacRumors observed, it would take a long time to transfer a full-resolution ProRAW file via a Lightning cable. As a workaround, Apple advises using AirDrop to transfer files or iCloud Photos to access ProRAW files.

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Even with Apple’s claim that Lightning benefits consumers and the environment, moving to USB-C 3.1 would enable transfers of up to 10Gbps. USB 3.0 on the original 2015 iPad Pro enabled transfers at 5Gbps.

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