While many such mods have cropped up on the internet in the past, they have always sacrificed the iPhone’s fast charging, data transfer, form factor, or other features in the process.
Ken Pillolel, who is studying for his master’s in engineering, had no idea that his undertaking to try what simply seemed like an interesting engineering project, would be so well received. “After waiting for years on Apple to make a USB-C iPhone, I decided I’d had enough; I’d just make one myself,” says Killolel.
The video has racked up nearly a million views over the 2 weeks it has been up, and people are already making suggestions for his next project.
Reverse-engineering the iPhone’s charging port was an interesting, but excruciating endeavor
Pillolel goes through the difficult process in compelling detail, including having to reverse engineer Apple’s C94 connector and build his own custom USB-C female-to-female circuit board, despite failing to find any information to help him online.
He managed to find a regular-sized version of the unusual adapter he was looking for, dissecting it to figure out how it worked, and building a miniature version of his own that would fit perfectly inside the iPhone X’s slim chassis.
Why did Pillolel choose an iPhone X for his mod? Well, it was simply the cheapest iPhone he could get his hands on at the time, that was still “half-decent,” he said. Months later, after the project was complete, Pillolel listed the USB-C-enabled iPhone X up for auction on eBay, hoping to make a few dollars in return for his painstaking efforts.
Bids on the USB-C iPhone started at $1, but reached $1,000,000
As soon as he did that, things took a crazy turn, recounted Pillolel in the YouTube video. He recalled that while he put the iPhone on a starting bid of $1, the bids surged at an unprecedented rate, with several bids reaching over one hundred thousand dollars—one “even went to one million dollars for a few minutes,” added the budding engineer.
If the bid doesn’t go through in the end, Pillolel claims, he is all set to continue working on the iPhone X, adding further modifications. “I already have another idea of what I will do with that iPhone,” he says, although he hasn’t shared any details of his plans just yet.
With Apple having established its own entire tight ecosystem of electronics and digital services, it’s extremely unlikely that the Cupertino company will ever give up its original Lightning port for a mainstream USB-C connector.
Apple makes good money off of selling its own charging adapters and cables, and has made the Lightning connector extremely versatile and widely compatible within its ecosystem, and only within that ecosystem.