Like most people these days, I have a drawer full of power leads. There's power connectors for external hard drives, printer cables, HDMI, audio and LAN cables. There's a healthy number of Apple chargers too. If I look hard enough I can pull out not just the recent USB-A to Lightning, USB-C to Lightning and USB-C to USB-C (for the iPad Air) ones, but also a few older USB-A to 30-pin ones and even the first Firewire to 30-pin leads for the original iPods.
Because of this, I understand the logic behind unifying all the best smartphones to a single USB-C charger. It means those charging stations you get at airports and train stations only need to provide one wire, hotels could have the right lead in your room and the chances are something in my drawer will charge just about any phone I'm testing.
The problem is that using any wire feels a bit dated to me now. So my question for the next iPhone (probably the iPhone 15 at this stage) is not, should it have a Lightning or USB-C connector, it's should it have a connector at all?
It's very rare these days that I actually plug my phone in to charge. I have a MagSafe charger by my bed, a charging mat by my work desk, and most new cars I test offer a wireless charging function. I'm pretty sure if I tried to plug my phone in now I'd have to clear out all the lint that's gathered in the socket first.
The Apple Watch has never had a plug-in socket of any kind. Instead, it sits on its mini MagSafe charger or a compatible charging mat with no issues at all. So why do we still need one for the iPhone?
Wireless charging stations are even more universal than USB-C leads and they mean you don't have frayed or broken wires to worry about. Just place the phone on the surface and let it charge, albeit at a slower rate.
Yes, there could be occasions where there are no wireless charging spots available and your only option is a physical lead. What would the imaginary port-less phone do then? Simple. Apple produces an adapter. Instead of supplying the iPhone with a cable, supply it with a MagSafe disc that connects to a USB cable. In fact, go one further and offer both USB-C and Lightning connectors on the Magsafe disc. That way you could connect it to any lead while the iPhone itself remains clear of ports and lint from my pocket.
I'm sure there is scope too for case manufacturers to build a charging disc into an iPhone battery case for those that really want the choice. Or even a nice leatherette one that also holds your credit cards. I on the other hand will just be enjoying one less hole in my phone.