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IPhone USB-C becomes reality thanks to robotics engineer – TechCrunch

The humble USB-C port made the news because Europe wants to make it a standard for all mobile devices to reduce electronic waste – and Apple is the only manufacturer not to use the standard for its smartphones. Today, a robotic engineering student proved that it is possible to replace the iPhone’s Lightning connector with a USB-C port, Apple Insider reported.

On his YouTube channel, EFPL master’s student Ken Pillonel teased an iPhone X with a USB-C port, promising a full video later on how it was done. In an earlier blog post and video, he explained how he reverse-engineered the Lightning connector and then built a prototype PCB connector to prove the concept.

Pillonel discovered that Apple sells a Lightning connector to certified partners who manufacture USB-C to Lightning cables. He managed to pull one out of a third-party cable, then remove the metal part and expose the PCB. With that done, he removed the female Lightning port from an iPhone and soldered the wires from the bare C94 board to a PCB with USB-C connectors. “Once that was done, I had my first working prototype,” he said. “The lightning is gone and only the USB-C remains.”

The next step was to “completely reverse the C94 card” so that everything could be shrunk to fit a phone, he said. This part has apparently been done, judging by the video above, and will be fully explained in a second video.

An iPhone with a USB-C port is the dream of many users, as it would allow faster charging of PDs and the use of standard non-proprietary cables. It’s also clearly doable for Apple, given that the iPad Pro has a USB-C port. Europe has proposed a rule that would require USB-C charging for all phones and electronics, with the aim of reducing e-waste and inconvenience to consumers.

It’s not clear if this has already been done, but most people shouldn’t try a project like this at home. Pillonel has a background in electronics and is preparing a master’s degree in robotics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL). Not to mention that this would obviously void your iPhone’s warranty.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Engadget.

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