Macworld|Macworld July 2016

An each iPhone gets more powerful, Apple could turn the iPhone Plus into an iPhone Pro by adding one little port, a good dock, and a whole new world of expansion  possibilities 

Ports are the unsung heroes of Apple’s biggest revolutions. We got USB with the iMac, FireWire and the 30-pin connector with the iPod, Lightning with the iPhone and iPad, and USB-C with the new MacBook. Whether the ports are fledgling or proprietary, Apple’s biggest breakthroughs have often centered around a new way to connect and charge, and its latest one might be making a surprise appearance on the next iPhone.

A recent schematic leak (go.macworld.com/ip7schematicleak) seemingly provides some evidence for the inclusion of a Smart Connector on the next-generation iPhone Plus. Depending on which rumor (go. macworld.com/ip7smartcxtr) you want to believe, it appears that Apple is wrestling with the decision to christen the larger 5.5-inch iPhone with the same Pro status it bestowed on the iPad, complete with the addition of the magnetic Smart Connector. According to the drawing and a previous leaked photo, the port is located on the back of the device, rather than the edge like on the iPad Pro, which suggests Apple has something different in mind than just a tiny Smart Keyboard.

With the iPad Pro, the Smart Connector is the first step toward positioning the tablet as a laptop replacement, but its purpose on a potential iPhone Pro isn’t quite so straightforward. And whether it happens this year or next, I think it’s a logical step for the continued growth and maturation of the iPhone.

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