Lightning to USB cable (fully reversible, retail box, uSwitch 001)

This past Friday, a pair of images appeared ostensibly showing off an upcoming Lightning cable variant featuring a reversible connector on the USB side.

Now additional and fairly credible-looking shots have surfaced, supporting the thesis that the new Lightning cable will feature a brand new, smaller and fully reversible USB 3.1 Type-C connector.

More importantly, the latest batch of images for the first time depict a bunch of Lightning to USB cables in their retail boxes, serving as the strongest indication yet that the upcoming new iPhones and iPads will most likely ship with the new cable. One publication was even able to verify that iTunes recognized the cable as an officially sanctioned product…

Check out the retail boxes top of post and below, posted by The images support the idea that Apple may be ready to introduce the new cables alongside the big iPhone 6 reveal on September 9.

Lightning to USB cable (fully reversible, retail box, uSwitch 002)

Guess what’s missing on this picture?

Yeah, the Apple logo.

For comparison, here’s the original Lightning to USB cable retail packaging.

Apple Lightning to USB cable (retail box 001)

Right below: another image parts leaker Sonny Dickson published on Twitter. The old USB connector can be seen on the left side, right next to the new and reversible Type-C variant on the right.

USB regular vs reversible (Sonny Dickson 001)

Again, the modified male USB Type-A has the pins in the middle of the connector, ensuring it can be attached to the metal casing of the connector either way.

And finally, here are even more cable images as spotted by EXPreview [Google Translate], via NowhereElse editor Steve Hemmerstoffer.

Lightning to USB cable (fully reversible, EXPreview 001)

According to the publication, which obtained the purported cable, it can be safely used to connect any Lightning-enabled iOS device to a Mac or Windows PC. More importantly, the cable allows for syncing with iTunes, telling us that the leaked part may indeed represent a genuine Apple product.

Lightning to USB cable (fully reversible, EXPreview 002)

In addition to the fully reversible design akin to Apple’s Lightning connector, the USB 3.1 Type-C standard provides hundred watts of power and promises data transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps.

The Type-C receptacle opening measures just 8.4-by-2.6mm, putting it close to the USB 2.0 Micro-B standard in terms of size.

Lightning to USB cable (fully reversible, schematic)

Curiously enough, Apple’s patent filed in early-2013 outlines the company’s own reversible USB invention which sounds a lot like the new standard that the USB Promoter Group first announced in December of last year, and detailed earlier this year.

According to the patent abstract, Apple’s take on the reversible USB works with the standard Type A port on any current or future device.

Embodiments can provide reversible or dual orientation USB plug connectors for mating with standard USB receptacle connectors, e.g., a standard Type A USB receptacle connector.

Accordingly, the present invention may be compatible with any current or future electronic device that includes a standard USB receptacle connector.

USB plug connectors according to the present invention can have a 180 degree symmetrical, double orientation design, which enables the plug connector to be inserted into a corresponding receptacle connector in either of two intuitive orientations. Some embodiments of the present invention may be used with or require a non-standard USB receptacle connector.

This support document provides additional information, descriptions and illustrations on Apple’s use of USB connectors across its product families.

At any rate, the new Lightning to USB cable should help reduce user confusion as both the Lightning and USB end are fully reversible — that is, you’ll be able to insert the cable into a USB port, and into your iOS device’s Lightning port, any way up.

The question is, does this matter to you?

  • Khan Rulzz


    • Star Lord

      But can’t say on durability.

      • I’ve bought a Lightning-to-Micro-USB adaptor and it’s the best thing I’ve ever bought. Micro USB cables are extremely cheap if they fail…

    • Actually the reversible USB (Type A) has been available for some time now. Apple is just incorporating it with their lighting connection.

  • Jamessmooth

    Hell yea it matters to me! Takes me 3 tries to get the darn plug in, every time. First world problems, but still…
    Another well written article, Christian. I appreciate your thoroughness.

    • archer14

      If it takes you three tries to use a damn cable, I shudder to think if you brush your nose instead of your teeth every morning. Does that take 3 tries as well?

    • Brian 

      How can it take 3 times if current USB only has 2 ways it can go in? The wrong way or the right way…..

      • I was thinking the same but my first try is usually the Ethernet port.

      • Jason B

        Because you have it right the first try, but for whatever reason, it won’t go in, then you turn it the wrong way, and no worky, then you turn it back around the right way, and it goes in. Kid you not, happens to me a lot too…

      • Jamessmooth

        Exactly. Someone from iDB put this problem in their article last week.

  • That piece just better be durable enough not to break within the first few months. Im assuming its been that way for a reason all of these years.

  • Being reversible is nice, but I’d much rather they focus on durability – the Apple lightning cables seem to split really easily compared to cheaper, third party alternatives.

    • Muhammad Syafiee

      Agreed. While the reversible feature creates ease, the wire isn’t that much durable. Hopefully this gets sorted out though.

      • Rowan09

        I heard the newer wires sold with the newly ship 5s are more durable. I’m going to exchange my wife’s iPad Air cable later this week and see if it’s true.

    • GuyWithTheThings

      I haven’t had any problem with my Lightning connecters and the device I got it with shipped out to me December of 2012… I have had it ever since. Is mine or yours different? Just curious.

      • I got my iPhone 5 in April 2013 – I was using the cable normally, charging every night, and it seemed fine. Recently I switched to a longer, third party cable, and used the original cable once to sync to iTunes. I looked at it a few days later and the covering had split, revealing the wire, and others seem to have had similar issues.

    • Brian 

      Do you mind me asking what exactly you do with your cable? I have had mine since the first day the 5S came out, I use it daily obviously, take it to work and everything. Yet mine is still in 9/10 condition. Its all about how YOU take care of it, not the cable itself but it has lasted me just fine.

      • I got my iPhone 5 in April 2013 – I was using the cable normally, charging every night, and it seemed fine. A few months ago I switched to a longer, third party cable, and used the original cable once to sync to iTunes. I looked at it a few days later and the covering had split, revealing the wire, and others seem to have had similar issues.

  • Ill admit though this does help a lot because I hate the amount of time it takes to figure out the correct direction to plug it in.


  • Will Mason Moses

    It definitely matters to me! I hate USB for that one reason. Hopefully this style of plug catches on. Also: since it appears to support 3.1, does that mean the chargers will and will that boost charging speeds dramatically?

  • Captain Canada

    A stop gap because no Mac models with have usb 3.1 this year. This is all very sketchy though, why not just stick to the non-reversible until type-C is in all their products?

  • A’s Network

    I wonder if there is a new USB 3.1 port or if it is just a cable…

  • Riley Freeman

    both my cables are now inconsistent in charging. wireless charging cant get here fast enough.

  • jack

    probably fake. the metal part of the lightning end is too shiny like those cheap chinese cables. I know it because I have both originals and cheap versions.

    • archer14

      Can you zoom into that pic CSI style and tell us more, Jack?

  • GuyWithTheThings

    It would be cool if the USB or the Lightning connector was like a headphone jack (Round) so you would get it every time, even in the dark. I still have trouble with the Lightning in the dark. Don’t even get me started on the USB.

  • mike

    Realistically, if this concept becomes reality the durability of the lightning to USB should increase.

    Reason being; the ends only start to fray when stress is out on a particular area of the cord over a period of time. If the cable is reversible on both ends, that would definitely alleviate some stress on the ends of the cord when plugging and re-plugging.

    But the world may never know.

  • DOOManiac

    I don’t understand what the pile of boxes is supposed to prove. Isn’t that the exact same box as the current lightning cables? There’s no way to tell from the side if the USB end is any different…

    If this does pan out though, hopefully the 5S will be compatible w/ a USB3 cable as well…

  • Royce Otero

    Not for nothing but these apple chargers are the worst thing apple has made.. There always end up broken.

  • sosarozay300

    will it work with my HP P7’s usb?