Ken Pillonel, a robotics engineering student at the Swiss École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EFPL), managed to redesign the iPhone X with a USB-C port. He posted a video showing a modified iPhone in action.
Today, Apple is the only smartphone manufacturer to use a proprietary charging connector. However, if your iPhone is out of warranty and you really want USB-C, you could try this (at your own risk).
According to a blog post in May, to reverse engineer the Lightning connector, Pillonel pulled a male connector (called a C94 board) from a third-party cable. He then proceeded to extract the female port from the iPhone. He then soldered the wires from the PCB of the bare male connector to another with a USB-C connector and finished with a working prototype.
From the video above, it is clear that Pillonel had to cut the frame of the phone with CNC to ensure that the port could serve. This is because the Lightning port is smaller than the USB-C. He also had to design and 3D print a port support bracket. You can see a more detailed description of his project here.
Pillone’s blog post detailing his process and discovery process reveals the ingenuity and complexity of the whole endeavor. He managed to achieve both data transfer and energy delivery through exchange. If Apple equipped the iPhone with a USB-C port from the start, it would open the door to universal hardware compatibility, higher charging speeds, and improved durability.
Moreover, Apple could actually switch to USB-C if it wanted to. MacBook series and iPad Pro already use USB-C In fact, Europe has already proposed a regulation requiring USB-C for all phones and electronic devices to reduce e-waste and inconvenience to consumers.
In a future video that is currently under development, Pillonel has promised to explain how he managed to compress the USB-C port where the Lightning port was in the iPhone.
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