An engineer beats Apple to the punch by adding a functioning USB-C port to an iPhone

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Screenshot: Ken Pillonel (Other) – It wasn’t simple, but someone found out how to accomplish what Apple won’t. USB-C was selected as the universal charging connector for future phones by the European Union earlier this fall. While we wait for Apple to catch up, one entrepreneurial engineer created what might be the world’s first USB-C iPhone.

Ken Pillonel, an engineering student, recently showed on YouTube (via Apple Insider) how he was able to install a functional USB-C connection to a current iPhone—in this case, an iPhone X—after a lot of labor and some hard reverse engineering.

Apple has gradually upgraded most of its iPad series to include USB-C connectivity, and many people had been expecting the firm would do the same with the iPhone. By fully supporting USB-C, Apple device owners will be able to charge all of their gadgets with the same connection. Despite speculations that USB-C will be arriving to the iPhone in 2018 and beyond, Apple has given no indication that it would ever do so, which makes Pillonel’s innovation all the more amazing.

Pillonel noted in a blog post on his USB-C iPhone project that figuring out how to utilize Apple’s proprietary C94 connector, which is the circuit Apple provides to third-party accessory makers for use in Lighting cables and connectors, was one of the most challenging parts. Pillonel was then able to glue the C94 connection to a converter board and finish it off with a USB-C port.

The challenge wasn’t over yet. The second significant stumbling block, according to Pillonel, was fitting all of the additional components inside the iPhone’s shell, which forced him to completely reverse engineer the C94 connector’s circuit board. But, in the end, Pillonel’s perseverance paid off: he claims to have successfully built an iPhone with USB-C that can both charge and transfer data.

Unfortunately, these procedures are likely too difficult for the typical iPhone user to do on their own device, but showing that it can be done is a great accomplishment in and of itself. Pillonel said he is working on a more in-depth video and a second section to his blog that will describe the conversion procedure in much more detail for anyone bold enough to try to make their own USB-C iPhone.

Unfortunately, it appears that the rest of us will have to continue to fantasize about a day when we will be able to charge our iPhones using the same charging cord that we use to charge our iPads or most Android phones. The most likely scenario is that Apple will just abandon the Lightning connector and create a totally portless iPhone in the not-too-distant future.