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Engineer creates world's first iPhone with USB Type-C instead of Lightning port

Engineer creates world's first iPhone with USB Type-C instead of Lightning port

A Master's student in the field of Robotics has managed to replace the lightning port on his iPhone X with a USB Type-C port that functions perfectly. Is it time for Apple to make the switch too?

(Image: Kenny Pi/ YouTube) (Image: Kenny Pi/ YouTube)
Story highlights
  • A new YouTube video shows the world's first iPhone with a USB Type-C port.
  • The iPhone charges through the port and can also be connected to PCs for data transfer.
  • Fitting the one-of-a-kind assembly within the iPhone proved to be a task for the creator.

Apple fans around the world have been waiting for the day when Apple announces a shift to USB Type-C for its products, especially iPhones. One fan has ended this wait for himself, having embedded a USB Type-C port on his iPhone X. The inventor is now calling it the world's first iPhone with a USB-C port.

Needless to say, the USB-C port comes in place of the lightning port of the iPhone. The interesting part, however, is that the creator of the first-of-its-kind product has managed to enable all the functionalities on the new port. That means that the modified iPhone X can charge as well as transfer data through the port using a USB Type-C cable.

A glimpse of the unique iPhone can be seen in a short YouTube video titled "World's First USB-C iPhone." YouTuber Ken Pillonel, the man behind the creation, shows in the video how his modified iPhone X charges using a USB-C cable. Pillonel even shows how the phone connects to a laptop for data transfer using the USB Type-C port.

The video posted recently on YouTube, as spotted by Apple Insider, is only a glimpse of the entire process of how the transition was made. In the video, Pillonel mentions that he is currently in the process of editing the full-length video. Once out, it will be able to explain just how he managed to switch the lightning port on his iPhone X to a USB-C port.

What is known at the point, is that Pillonel reverse-engineered Apple's C94 connector to make a PCB with a female USB-C port. Once he had set up and tested the schematics, he went on to shrink the entire assembly in order to install it into the iPhone.

This is not Pillonel's first-ever mention of the project. He had been trying to achieve this for months, having posted video updates for the same time and again. A video posted in May shows a working prototype of such an arrangement, wherein an iPhone can be seen charging and transferring data through a USB Type-C wire. Though at this point, the assembly was too big to be embedded within the iPhone.

It seems like Pillonel has done it after all, with an upcoming video due to be the proof. This raises the question, when is Apple going to bring such a transition to iPhones? The company has already started switching to USB Type-C ports for its iPad lineup. Now that Pillonel shows that iPhones can be modified for the functionality too, will Apple take it as a serious option? That is, if it is not already working on such iPhones.

Though the tech major might be left with few options going forward. A recent proposal by European Union hinted at a mandate for a universal charging solution for phones and other small electronic devices. If brought to effect, the proposal can force all smartphone manufacturers, including Apple, to adopt USB Type-C ports on their devices.

Well, good news for the company, it can be done after all. Though till time Apple does not do it, it is not recommended for others to repeat the process on their beloved iPhones. Pillonel is currently pursuing his Master's degree in Robotics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL. On the side, he also loves to work on such projects. With his skills and knowledge, he was able to devise a way to get things done. Though it is highly unlikely that the process will be easily repeatable for others.