- Apple may release a new "completely wireless" iPhone in 2021 that would not include a Lightning charging port, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
- Such an iPhone would likely be the most expensive model in Apple's lineup in 2021.
- In addition to launching a new wireless flagship iPhone, Kuo suggests Apple could also launch a new iPhone SE that year.
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First, Apple killed the headphone jack. Now, the charging port could be next.
Apple is reportedly planning to release its first iPhone without the Lightning charging port in 2021, according to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is well-known for his Apple product predictions. Kuo's research note was reported by several outlets on Thursday, including 9to5Mac, CNBC, and MacRumors.
Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
Kuo predicts that in 2021, the most expensive new iPhone in Apple's lineup will offer a "completely wireless experience" and would lack the Lightning slot that's been present on iPhones since 2012. That suggests the phone will not have a charging port and instead would require that owners charge it wirelessly. The shift is part of an effort by Apple to further distinguish its most expensive iPhone from its other new smartphones, according to Kuo.
For the past two years, Apple has launched three new iPhones: two high-end devices and one less expensive model. In September, for example, it released the $1,000 iPhone 11 Pro, $1,100 iPhone 11 Pro Max, and cheaper $700 iPhone 11. Before that in 2018, it followed a similar model with the flagship iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max and more wallet-friendly iPhone XR.
The new report from Kuo is among the first rumors to emerge about Apple's 2021 iPhones. The company is reportedly planning to introduce iPhones in 2020 in new sizes that support 5G connectivity.
Kuo doesn't mention other details about the phone, including what it will be called. But if the company sticks with its current pattern, the 2021 iPhone could be part of a family of devices branded as the iPhone 13.
Other than its flagship iPhones — including the model without any charging port — Kuo predicts Apple will release another version of its budget-oriented iPhone SE in 2021 that will have an edge-to-edge screen but no Face ID. Apple hasn't released a new version of its $400 iPhone SE since 2016, but the company is rumored to be planning a sequel to the device that resembles the iPhone 8 in 2020.
When Apple removed the headphone jack from its smartphones in 2016 with the iPhone 7, it positioned it as being part of the company's vision for a future without wires and cables. "The reason to move on, I'm gonna give you three of them, but it really comes down to one word: courage," Apple executive Phil Schiller said on stage when discussing the headphone jack's removal. "The courage to move on and do something new that betters all of us." The decision to nix the headphone jack was initially met with criticism, but quickly became nearly standard throughout the industry as nearly every modern smartphone now lacks that 3.5mm port. Apple also famously moved away from the floppy-disk drive with its iMac G3 in 1998, in favor of the CD-ROM drive.
If Apple does remove the Lightning port from future iPhones, it may not be long before other smartphone makers follow suit.