When asked why he was climbing Mount Everest in 1924, mountaineer George Mallory is widely believed to have replied, “because it’s there.”
That’s a mindset that most hardware modders will understand. What possible other explanation could there be to explain the handiwork of YouTuber Hyphaistos3672? The engineer has managed to add a working USB-C port to the diminutive shell of the iPhone 12 mini, without affecting the still-functioning Lightning port.
As the video shows, the iPhone is recognised by a MacBook when connected by either USB-C or Lightning. That makes it twice as good as a regular iPhone, or indeed the one modded to take USB-C.
That’s quite the achievement given the iPhone 12 mini is absolutely tiny — so tiny that consumers failed to notice it on store shelves, and failed to buy it.
But in all seriousness, the modder didn’t make it easy, picking the iPhone with the least space to work with. Indeed to make the spare port fit, the modder had to remove the speaker, reduce its size, and put it back in. Neat.
So what use is the new Frankenstein’s monster of a phone? Well, for one thing it’s the only iPhone since the 2018’s iPhone SE that lets you charge and listen to music through wired earphones at the same time.
Of course, for that you’d need some Lightning or USB-C headphones which aren’t super common, so that’s a bit of a bust.
But it does mean that you can take your dual-ported iPhone 12 mini around with you and be confident that someone will always have a charger you can borrow.
Of course, that problem will take care of itself soon enough anyway. Thanks to a EU decision that portable tech should support USB-C, Apple has accepted that it will soon have to adopt the standard itself.
The upcoming iPhone 15 is widely tipped to be the first one to include a USB-C port — though eventually Apple may decide to do away with charging ports completely.