Unusual: the first iPhone with a USB-C port sold for $ 86,001


After making headlines by replacing the Lightning port of an iPhone with a USB-C connector, a Swiss student gave up his prototype. The modified iPhone X sold for over $ 86,000 on a US marketplace.

Very high-end smartphones with a four-figure price tag are not uncommon. An iPhone X has just joined this not-so-closed club after a Swiss robotics student, Ken Pillonel, sold his used model for $ 86,001, or around € 75,000. A significant sum for a device launched in 2017! But this iPhone is not quite like the others. Earlier this year, the Swiss student took to the web with a challenge: to replace an iPhone’s Lightning port with a USB-C connector. Ken Pillonel had indeed mentioned his project in May, detailing the different steps to follow to proceed with the replacement. Besides the hardware change, it was mostly necessary to overcome the software challenge to make the device work without Apple blocking its operation. After multiple tests, he finally unveiled a short video to confirm the success of his project.

We can see an iPhone X in appearance classic, but with a USB-C port instead of the essential home Lightning connector. The student reconsidered his prowess in another video and published the results of his work, in open source, on GitHub.

A revolutionary iPhone … for collectors

The modified iPhone X then went up for auction on eBay. After a few days on the online auction site, the “World’s first USB-C iPhone” was sold for 86,001 dollars (75,000 euros). A significant sum for a device that cannot be used like a classic smartphone. On the page dedicated to his product, its creator specifies that the buyer must not reset the iPhone, nor update it, nor use it on a daily basis and not open it. “I guarantee that the phone will work when you receive it, but if you don’t follow the aforementioned guidelines you will have to fend for yourself (…) It’s just a prototype”, clarified the student. On the other hand, the purchaser will be able to talk to the specialist for 30 minutes on the phone. All these restrictions on use did not prevent 116 Internet users from trying to afford the product. One bid even exceeded $ 100,000 before the bidder retracted.

The first USB-C iPhone sold for over 75,000 euros. © Internet Archive / eBay

Changes to this 64GB iPhone X have been around the world, with over 1.5 million views for the video confirming its existence. It must be said that the feat comes in the midst of the debate around the USB-C charger for smartphones. The European Union does not want to leave the choice to Apple and confirmed, at the start of the school year, its desire to impose a universal charger for all smartphones. While most Android smartphones have adopted a USB-C connector, the Apple brand is resisting with its proprietary Lightning port. The new European project would push Apple to integrate a USB-C port in addition to, or as a replacement for, its connector. The measure is part of a vast project to harmonize technologies.

Future iPhones could therefore resemble the prototype unveiled by the Swiss student, unless Apple creates a surprise. On the Cupertino side, it is not certain that the integration of a USB-C port is relevant and the manufacturer could bypass this step by launching a smartphone without any port.

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