History

Lightning was introduced in 2020

  • Lightning is an 8pin bus and power connector that has been developed by Apple and announced as the new connector of the iPhone 5, replacing the older 30-in connector.
  • Lightning cables and dongles have certain specifications and can be connected with their faces either up or down.
  • Lightning accessories are licensed by Apple (apple receives a fee for this license).
  • Official and licensed lightning accessories are equipped with an authentication chip that makes it difficult for non-licensed OEMs to produce accessories with bad specifications.

USB-C was introduced in 2014

  • USB-c was originally known as USB type-c and specification 1.0 was finalized in August 2014.
  • USB-c was developed at the same time as the USB 3.1 specification but it’s not the same thing(a USB-c cable is not necessarily following the USB 3.1 or 3.2 specifications etc.)
  • USB-c cables and accessories do NOT have the same specs and capabilities with each other (including USB power delivery)
  • USB-c cables can be connected with their faces either up or down.
  • USB-c transfer protocol is the first USB protocol that is exclusively available via type-c.

Devices

iPhones, iPods, iPads, Apple Pencil, etc

  • Lighting was introduced in 2012 as the new charging port of the iPhone 5 (and 5C), iPod Nano, and iPod Touch. ever since all iPhones and iPods come with a Lightning port.
  • iPads came up next since the 4th-gen iPad and 1st-gen Ipad Mini (Oct 2012) came with a lightning port.
  • The original iPad Pro released in 2015 was the first dec=vice that came with a USB 3.0 compatible lightning port not used for faster charging though.
  • In 2016, Apple removed the 5.5mm port from the iPhone and the new EarPds were released with a lightning connector. Other lightning devices: Airpods cases, Apple Pencil (1st-gen), Magic Keyboard, Maic Mouse and Trackpad, SiriRemote, Powerbeats Pro case, Beats X, Solo Pro and Pill, and Several iPhone, Apple Watch or other docks.

The Future

So, what’s next?

  • Apple was expected to launch a USB-c iPhone in 2019, practically replicated what they did with the 2018 iPad Pro.
  • The iPhone 11 series, however, came with a lightning port again. So what about 2020?
  • The 2020 iPhone is expected to come with a lightning port again. Same for 2021, with small exceptions.
  • The top tier 2021 iPhone is expected to be completely port-less, which means that Apple plans to move from the current state to a fully wireless charging state (reported by Jon Prosser).
  • Apple is planning to ditch the lightning port from all iPhones in the future. So all iPhones will be charged via an improved wireless charging solution and better wireless charger).