Apple seems to be at war with its connectors. This year has seen a ton of changes to its hardware, with the banishment of the headphone jacket, and a lot of useful ports replaced with cumbersome adapters, for not a lot of payoff. It seems the battle rages on. An executive at Foxconn (which makes a lot of Apple hardware) leaked what appear to be credible rumors about the next iPhone. Chief among them: the iPhone will be moving to wireless charging.
First of all, wireless charging is an awesome technology that could make using your gadgets a lot easier. But tell that to those of us who have so recently replaced all of our adaptors, charging bases, boom boxes, and cases to fit the lightning port standards. Or those of us that are about to do so when we buy the iPhone 7.
Progress has always meant upgrading, and upgrading means leaving things behind. That much we get. But we deserve to know where it's all headed. Take the USB-C ports on the new Macbooks. This is a great advance, but using one to charge the device makes no sense. Apple had a brilliant, simple and safe charging solution with the MagSafe port: it kept you from ripping the port out of your computer if you lifted it up without unplugging it first.
And then there's the lack of SD, USB or Thunderbolt ports in the new MacBooks, a bunch of stuff is just sort of unavailable that a lot of people really need to use. Here’s a list of everything you can’t do without an adapter on it:
- Upload SD card files directly.
- Connect a camera for direct upload.
- Play or upload software or files from any disc whatsoever.
- Access a flash drive.
- Connect a USB Hub or external hard drive.
- Connect a second screen, or connect the Macbook to a stand to use it as a CPU.
- Connect any existing Apple product to charge, including iPhone 7.
- Use any Thunderbolt devices.
- Connect your old Macbook to your new Macbook for file transfer.
- Use Lightning port headphones or devices.
Does this mean you should abandon Apple? Clearly not — iPhones and MacBooks are still best in class. But it does seem that the 2016 generation of products could be a transitional one. And that means if you buy in now, you might well be swimming in another generation of adaptors and connectors and gear that will be completely useless in little more than a year.
So, given these leaked rumors and, more importantly, until Apple decides on a few ports to standardize explicitly for years to come, you might want to make do with your current iPhone — and all of its chargers, adaptors, and compatible accessories.