The humble USB-C port has become news because Europe wants to make it a standard for all mobile devices to reduce e-waste-and Apple is the only manufacturer that has not yet used the standard on its smartphones. According to Apple Insider reports, now, a robotics engineering student has proven that the Lightning connector of the iPhone can be replaced with a USB-C port.
On his YouTube channel, EFPL master student Ken Pillonel teased an iPhone X with a USB-C port and promised to provide a full video later to illustrate how it is done. In a previous blog post and video, he explained how he reverse engineered the Lightning connector, and then built a prototype PCB connector to prove the concept.
Pillonel discovered that Apple sells Lightning connectors to certified partners that manufacture USB-C to Lightning cables. He managed to remove one of the third-party cables, then removed the metal part and exposed the PCB. When finished, he pulled out the female Lightning port from the iPhone and soldered the wires on the bare C94 board to the PCB with the USB-C connector. "Once completed, I have my first working prototype," he said. "The lightning is gone, only USB-C is left."
He said that the next step is to "completely reverse engineer the C94 board" in order to shrink everything to fit the phone. Judging from the video above, this part is clearly completed and will be explained in detail in the second video.
An iPhone with a USB-C port is the dream of many users because it can achieve faster PD charging and use standard non-proprietary cables. Considering that the iPad Pro has a USB-C port, this is obviously feasible for Apple. Europe has proposed a rule requiring USB-C charging for all mobile phones and electronic devices, with the aim of reducing e-waste and consumer inconvenience.
It is not clear if this has been done before, but most people should not try such a project at home. Pillonel has an electronics background and is currently pursuing a master's degree in robotics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL). Not to mention that it will obviously invalidate your iPhone warranty.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Engadget.