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Apple is gearing up for a highly anticipated event scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, September 12, where they will reveal the iPhone 15. While speculation and leaks from various sources have given us insights into what to expect, a recent revelation by European Union regulators hints at a significant change. It appears that the latest iPhone will introduce a USB-C connector, marking the end of the era of the Lightning connector that Apple introduced with the iPhone 5 back in 2012.

However, the shift to USB-C is just one part of the story. The most notable development is the rumored inclusion of a Thunderbolt port in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. This port will share the same connector as USB-C but will offer a wide range of additional functionalities, including enhanced data transfer, display capabilities, power delivery, and more.

The potential for the iPhone to become more versatile in terms of hardware input and output has far-reaching implications for its role in users’ computing lives. Competitors like Samsung and Motorola have been pushing the boundaries of what smartphones can do, with Samsung’s DeX, for example, evolving into a competent desktop replacement. Rumors even suggest that Android may soon introduce its own native desktop mode for the Pixel 8.

While Apple has yet to fully unlock the desktop computing potential of iPadOS, there is immense promise in making the iPhone a transformative device in this regard. Imagine having a pocket-sized thin client that allows you to carry your PC wherever you go, plugging it into accessories such as displays and input devices for seamless productivity. The technical capabilities of an iPhone 15 equipped with a robust USB-C port and the latest Thunderbolt specifications make this vision feasible.

Currently, iPhones have limited capabilities when connected to external displays, mainly offering screen mirroring or, if supported by an app, optimized video output. An iPhone capable of projecting an interface more akin to iPadOS or even macOS when connected to a larger screen could potentially replace a laptop for a significant portion of the population, both for casual and professional tasks. Apple’s processors, which already power Macs, possess the necessary performance for tasks such as email, web browsing, video streaming, and photo editing.

While Apple might risk cannibalizing its Mac sales with such a move, the company has a history of leading paradigm shifts in the tech industry. The question remains whether this upcoming iPhone with a USB-C connector will merely be a slight iteration or the dawn of a new era that redefines our perception of smartphones. While a full-fledged desktop mode may not be on the horizon for this year, it is a concept many hope Apple is actively exploring for future launches.