With the removal of the headphone jack with the iPhone 7 this year, and the likely removal of the home button with the iPhone next year, Apple is limiting their choices of antiquated features to cleanse from the iPhone. So, in 2018, is Apple removing the lightning port from the iPhone? It is quite possible. It was only a few years ago when Apple abandoned the ancient 30-pin connector for a much smoother, sleeker charging port, but removing the lighting port definitely seems like a risk Apple is willing to take. At least, it seems so from this patent, essentially stating that Apple can use a connector, likely a magnetic one, to transfer information back and forth without the need for any kind of visible port. We haven't seen effective and/or practical technology like this to date, but Apple seems to be on a march to eliminate as many holes and buttons from the iPhone as possible, and this seems like something they would be willing to do in a heartbeat, provided they can create the technology to do it (which I don't doubt).
Like I stated earlier, wireless charging hasn't really been implemented successfully in the past, and when it has it has been largely impractical. Multiple tech companies have tried to find a way to make wireless charging successful, say, in a range of three or four feet from the charging device, but this has proven unsuccessful and very difficult to do as well. Past results lead me to believe that if Apple does remove the lighting port in 2018 or beyond, it will probably not actually make charging wireless. What I see more likely to happen is the continuation of wired charging for at least a year or two after the removal of the lightning port, but the charger wouldn't actually have to plug in to the phone in order to function.
I think that the removal of the lightning port (but likely the continuation of wired charging for at least a few more years) would incite some outrage at first, but it would be a very practical and smart way for Apple to continue slimming down the iPhone with a sleeker, more futuristic design. It would also help to further waterproof the iPhone, and allow more space for other things. Overall, I hope we see the lightning port removed by 2018, and although it might not happen until later, I do think Apple is determined to remove as many ports as possible, so this is not out of the realm of possibility.
As always, thanks for reading and leave a comment below if you have any additional input. Thanks!