A hot potato: Apple is reportedly planning to drop the Lightning connector on its highest-end iPhone due for launch in 2021. If true, it would be the first iPhone from Apple to offer a completely wireless experience. How are consumers going to respond to yet another port going away?

The intelligence comes courtesy of a new research note from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo is regarded as one of the top Apple analysts in the industry and is well-connected among component suppliers.

In his note, Kuo said eliminating the port would create more differentiation between the highest-end and high-end models in Apple’s lineup. Presumably, doing away with the Lightning port may also allow Apple to make the phone more water resistant.

Apple is widely expected to launch an iPhone SE 2 in the first quarter of 2020 that’ll pack modern hardware in the shell of an iPhone 8. An iPhone SE 2 Plus with a full-screen design (no Face ID) may arrive in early 2021, setting the stage for a bi-annual iPhone release cycle not unlike what Samsung has with its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines.

The first iPhone SE arrived in early 2016 and was discontinued a little over two years later. With flagships now commanding upwards of $1,000, the time might be right for Apple to reintroduce a budget option. After all, not everyone wants or needs a high-end handset with all the bells and whistles.

Masthead credit: iPhone by Michael Gordon