Thanks to a robotics engineer, the USB-C iPhone became a reality.
The humble USB-C port has been in the news because Europe wants to make e-waste standard for all mobile devices – and Apple is the only manufacturer that still doesn’t use the standard for its smartphones. Now, a robotics engineering student has proven that it is possible to replace the iPhone’s lighting connector with a USB-C port. Apple Insider Reported.
On his YouTube channel, EFPL Master’s student Ken Pellnell tampered with the iPhone X with a USB port, later promising a full video of how it was done. In an earlier blog post and video, he explained that he reverse engineered the lighting connector, then built a prototype PCB connector to prove the concept.
Pellnell discovered that Apple sells Lightning connectors to certified partners who make power cables from USB-C. He managed to pull one out of the third party cable, then removed the metal part and exposed the PCB. With that, he pulled out a female lighting port from an iPhone and pulled the soldered wires from a bare C94 board into a PCB with a USB-C connector. “Once that happened, I got my first working prototype,” he said. “The power is gone and only USB-C is left.”
The next step, he said, was to “completely reverse the C94 board” so that everything could be compressed to fit the phone. This part is apparently done, decided by the video mentioned above, and will be fully explained in another video.
An iPhone with a USB-C port is a dream for many users, as it allows fast PD charging and the use of standard, non-proprietary cables. This is also clearly possible for Apple, the iPad Pro has a USB-C port. Europe has proposed a rule requiring USB-C charging for all phones and electronic devices, aimed at reducing e-waste and consumer inconvenience.
It’s not clear if this has been done before, but most people should not try such a project at home. Peylonel has an electronics background and is pursuing a master’s degree in robotics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL). Not to mention that this will explicitly void your iPhone’s warranty.
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