Will phones go portless in 2022?

When was the last time you used the USB or Lightning port on your phone? It’s true that it’s the fastest way to charge, but wireless charging is so darn convenient. If you’re like most folks, you haven’t connected your phone to your computer in recent memory either. So considering how much space that port takes up in your phone, is it really worth having?

The port in your phone: a brief history

If you’re an iPhone user, you might remember the fairly large “dock connector” that the first iPhones had. Apple replaced it with the Lightning connector, and while there was a little bit of complaining at first, people soon embraced the common sense of a tiny connector that you couldn’t put in wrong.

It took a little longer for Androids to co-opt that particular feature. Most Androids throughout history have used MicroUSB to charge. You certainly don’t need me to remind you how annoying that connector was and how impossible it was to put it in right the first time. I think we’re all much happier with USB-C, even though it’s a touch larger than the older connector (for no good reason.)

Surprised it hasn’t happened already

That’s the thing. Apple has a history of ditching established tech whenever they feel like it. They’re usually right to do it, although they get a lot of complaints at first. Without Apple, we might still have devices with floppy drives, huge parallel ports, and chunky VGA connectors. On the other hand, we’d probably still have phones with headphone jacks and that would be nice, honestly.

Yet, for all its history of ditching ports, Apple seems to have had a change of heart recently. Despite forecasts that they would ditch Lightning on their phones (I even predicted it), they haven’t. And, believe it or not, their new MacBook Pro has more ports than its predecessor. This may be the first time that’s ever happened.

Maybe Apple hasn’t gone portless because they’re afraid of the backlash. Maybe they believe there’s a place for the power/data connector after all. Or, maybe they’re just saving it all for the next release.

Yeah, that’s my bet.

Since the release of iPhone X in 2017, there hasn’t been much change in the outward appearance of their products. Yeah, the edges got sharper, the camera bumps grew and the colors changed. But really there hasn’t been anything that really makes you look at the device in a new way. iPhone X was the first ground-up redesign for Apple’s phone, doing away with the home button and adding “the notch.” I’m willing to bet that they’re hard at work creating something equally distinctive for “iPhone XV” or whatever they’re going to call it. Until then, I don’t expect changes.

That iPhone could be a portless design with fewer speakers and buttons. It could feature under-screen Face ID for an edge-to-edge screen. Whatever it will be, it could be wild.

But what about Androids?

Historically, Androids have been first to adopt software features but have lagged behind Apple in hardware design. Even though Samsung has unquestioned leadership in that space, they don’t seem eager to rock the boat too much, design-wise. They took a big swing with the Galaxy Flip, and while it’s cool, it’s not worth the money they want for it. I’ve yet to see anyone actually own one.

Samsung absolutely could come up with a designer phone with no ports if they wanted to. But then they would have to deal with the question of power banks. Apple has its MagSafe back where you can securely attach power banks. Without a port, how would you be able to power your phone in an emergency?

I don’t predict…

…that we’ll see a portless phone in 2022. People don’t want it as much as they want a phone that charges faster and lasts more than a day on a charge. That’s the one area we’ve lost ground on in 20 years. My 2002 phone charged to full in 30 minutes or so, and lasted a week on a charge. Of course it couldn’t do much, but the battery life was great.

In the meantime, while you’re waiting for the next designer phone, please consider calling the experts at Signal Connect if you need to add a line or change your plan. We’re AT&T Dealers and can give you the best possible deal. The number is 888-233-7563 and we’re here for you during East Coast business hours.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.