iPhone 6 rumors have been buzzing lately about a new development that could see Apple introduce a reversible USB Lightning cable with the iPhone 6 when it’s expected to be launched next month. If you’re curious to see a connector like this in action, we actually got a hold of a reversible USB Lightning cable that could be very similar to the one that might come with the iPhone 6.
Recently we saw photos of what appeared to be a new reversible USB connector that could be coming with the new iPhone 6, showing a new design that allows this new connector to be used with the current USB standard, meaning that the design of USB ports themselves don’t need to change in order for this new reversible connector work.
Plus, we even saw a rather sketchy video that allegedly demoed the new Lightning cable on camera. However, whether you believe that Apple will introduce a reversible Lightning cable with the iPhone 6 or not, the reversible USB connector actually already exists and we got to play with one recently, but we now got our hands on an actual iPhone reversible USB Lightning cable.
A company called Truffol makes reversible USB Lightning cables and while they’re not certified for Apple’s MFi program, they’re as about as close as you can get. It uses the same Lightning connector as an official cable, meaning that it uses the same high-quality metal and gold connectors for the plug. If it were a cheap knock-off cable, it would have a much cheaper connector with plastic parts and cheaper metal. The Truffol cable is far from that.
You can read more about cheap knock-off Lightning cables in our fake-vs-genuine Lightning cable guide.
Essentially, this reversible USB Lightning cable from Truffol is about as close as you can get to a certified MFi cable without it actually being certified.
The new reversible connector keeps the familiar “duck bill” shape so that it can still work with current USB ports, but the contacts and the PCB circuit board on the inside of the connector are now centered in the middle instead of taking up one half of the connector. This allows the reversible connector to be used with current USB ports without a problem.
However, we are curious as to how the swapping of the pins work when you flip the connector over, seeing as how we would think the ground and positive pins on the female port would need to swap places as well. Although, it’s clear that the pins on the male connector are wired in such a way that the top and bottom of the pins are opposite, or it could be a new chip inside of the connector that tells the plug which pins need to be ground and positive. Either way, it works.
We’re also curious if this new design will affect the robustness of the connector in any way in the long term. iPhone users are no doubt familiar with worn out Lightning cables, so if Apple actually makes this new reversible USB cable any tougher, we’re sure users will be grateful.
While this development has recently gained popularity over the last couple of weeks, discussions of a reversible USB connector go as far back as last year when it was revealed that the USB 3.0 Promoter Group detailed a new “Type-C” USB connection that would be reversible, although the design would call for a smaller connector overall and would oust the familiar “duck bill” design that USB is known for, meaning that USB ports on computers would have to change entirely.
While the USB Group might still have plans for such a design, Apple may be getting a head start with this new USB design and make it mainstream before the Type-C connector even has a chance to get off the ground. However, whether or not we’ll see a new reversible connector introduced with the iPhone 6 is up in the air. We certainly wouldn’t be surprised, but it’s also possible that Apple could still be working on the design and might be waiting to release it until the iPhone 6s (or iPhone 7 perhaps) in 2015.
Either way, it’s good to know that the current USB ports can support reversible connections with just a bit of a design change in the connector, and we look forward to the day when we no longer have a 50/50 chance of plugging it in wrong.