A new surprise has just come roaring out of a Wall Street Journal report on the forthcoming iPhone 8. In addition to featuring the previously rumored flexible, curved screen, Apple intends to get rid of the Home button, as well as the proprietary, now ubiquitous Lightning connector that its phones have run on for years. Instead, the WSJ writes, new iPhones will use a "USB-C port for the power cord and other peripheral devices instead of the company’s original Lightning connector."
To be clear, this goes against the proprietary charging cable strategy that Apple's operated on since its very first iPhones and iPods.
Now, because the language is slightly unclear, it may be that Apple intends to incorporate USB-C -- the latest iteration of the USB standard -- into its power adapters, but not onto the phone itself. In other words the Lightning end that would plug into your phone would stay the same, but the end you'd plug into the charging adapter would change to this new standard. Given that USB-C charging is reversible and that the new MacBooks use it for their charging ports anyway, this could make plenty of sense for Apple to try, without forfeiting their licensing power. That said, the anonymous source's language is fuzzy and we just don't know yet.
It comes on the heels of a few different iPhone 8 rumors spinning around the Internet, including one that the company would launch three new iPhones this year. Among others we've already heard before: the curved screen, an alternative interface to the Home button, eye- and face-scanning technology, and even wireless charging (though maybe that's out of the picture given today's report).
Time will tell. There are some real advantages to the USB-C standard. It can transfer files faster than any other connector in its class. It can be used bi-directionally, meaning -- at least theoretically -- you could charge something else in a pinch with your iPhone. And it's now used in the latest Apple MacBook charger, so you could potentially use the cable for that, too.
For now, though, we'll just have to wait patiently and make the most with what we have. The WSJ reports that the new phone with the curved screen and USB-C compatibility will cost $1,000, compared to the current iPhone 7's $649. If you plan on saving your money, here's how to charge your iPhone super-fast and a few more tips for charging that will make your life easier.