Now that the iPhone 7 is here and getting into the hands of eager users, the tech press is looking to the iPhone 8. Next year will be the tenth anniversary of the iPhone and Apple is widely expected to take the smartphone market in a new direction, especially on the heels of the subtle, but ultimately drastic, changes made to the iPhone with the 7.
One of the more credible rumors about the release is that, after years of testing, Apple is finally bringing wireless charging to the iPhone. This rumor arrives with every iPhone — the 7 was rumored to have it right up until it debuted. But if wireless charging really is finally happening, that might be a prelude to replacing your phone being a messy nightmare to an ecological disaster. And it also means that Apple will likely be getting rid of the ports altogether.
Why Apple Hates Ports
As we all know, this year Apple got rid of the standard headphone jack in favor of making you buy Bluetooth headphones, preferably those from the headphone company it already owns. The jury is out on whether that experiment has really worked, but it’s consistent with Apple’s philosophy of “closed architecture,” where it builds the hardware, controls the software, and nobody outside Apple — not even the people who buy their products — gets to fiddle with it. This is why everyone with Android can share phone chargers while Apple users are stuck with Lightning ports.
And Apple will allegedly have even more reasons to hate ports with the iPhone 8. It seems likely that the iPhone 8 will be made entirely from glass, and while drilling precision holes in glass is possible, it generally requires expensive tools and specialist knowledge to set up on an industrial scale. It’d be much cheaper for Apple to just do away with ports altogether, which is where wireless charging comes in.
The primary job of your phone’s Lightning or USB port is to get power to the battery; take that job away, and, as far as Apple is concerned, it’s just a useless data port people might use for purposes like “jailbreaking” iPhones (which Apple hates). Cutting the port will make the iPhone 8 even thinner, something consumers want. And since anything from data preservation to contacts can just be stored remotely, it seems like a no-brainer. But there are some consequences to wireless charging and a port-free iPhone that we should consider.