A robotics engineer dismayed by the lack of a USB-C iPhone decided to take matters into his own hands by making one – and has now put it up for sale. At the time of writing, the USB-C iPhone eBay listing was already at $85K.
Ken Pillonel last month modified an iPhone X to replace the Lightning port with a fully functional USB-C port …
This is it. I’ve finally built the World’s First iPhone with a USB Type-C port. It supports charging and data transfers. The first part was about getting the electronics to work. Then the next step was to reverse-engineer the Apple C94 connector and make my own PCB with a female USB C port. Then the schematics for the project were set and tested and the final was to make it fit inside the iPhone!
It is billed as the world’s first USB-C iPhone, and it could well remain the only one in existence. While Apple adopted USB-C for both MacBooks and iPads, it hasn’t yet done the same for iPhones – and it’s by no means certain that it ever will.
Way back in 2016, I hoped it would be coming sooner rather than later, and the European Union has been ramping up the pressure on Apple to do just that – yet it still hasn’t happened. It’s now looking increasingly possible that Apple might jump straight from Lightning to a fully portless iPhone.
Pillonel didn’t give too many details at the time, but subsequently put a detailed tutorial video online for anyone who wants to follow in his footsteps.
The nearly 14-minute video shows details on how someone can modify an iPhone’s connector. Pillonel basically created a Lightning to USB-C adapter so miniaturized that it could fit inside the iPhone. Of course, in real life, things are much more complex than they sound.
Part of the process requires modifying Apple’s C94 chip, which is used to manage the power going into the device and to identify certified Lightning cables and accessories.
But if that’s a little beyond your electronics skills, you could always buy the one he already made. He’s put it up for sale on eBay, and at the time of writing bidding was already up to an insane $85K.
You might also want to note the conditions of sale:
You will not restore, update, or erase this iPhone
You will not use it as your daily phone
You will not open it
I guarantee that the phone will work when you receive it but if you don’t follow the aforementionned guidelines you are on your own. So basically you can do whatever you want with it but don’t expect anything from me if you break something. It is just a prototype.
clearly apple is leaving money on the table https://t.co/CbvtlxOyPS
— Zac Hall (@apollozac) November 4, 2021
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About the Author
Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!