Technology

EU Decision Forces Apple to Switch to USB-C iPhone Charging by the End of 2024

The EU Parliament has overwhelmingly passed legislation requiring all phones, tablets and cameras to use a USB-C port for charging by 2024. Lightning port for iPhone.

You can read the EU press release (will open in a new tab) (via MacRumors (will open in a new tab)) for a full breakdown, but the bottom line is that the EU wants to cut down on e-waste by installing a common charging port, also known as USB-C. According to the EU governing body, this step should also be about product sustainability.

In total, 602 deputies voted for the law, with 13 objections and 8 abstentions. It was a long time ago and we are honestly very happy to see it. The Lightning port has been delayed since its introduction in 2012. It’s time for all phones to use a universal charging port, including the best iPhones.

However, you might be wondering why we came to the conclusion that the Lightning port is dead (at least on the iPhone). The answer comes down to logistics. We highly doubt Apple will create two iPhone SKUs, one with a Lightning port and one with an EU USB-C port. This will increase costs, which will hurt Apple.

So far, Apple has resisted the move to USB-C on the iPhone — the iPad Pro, iPad mini, and iPad Air all use USB-C — because it makes money by licensing the Lightning standard to accessory makers. It hardly benefits from third-party USB-C accessories. Considering the iPhone is the company’s most popular product, you can see why it’s been dragging its feet on the USB-C transition since we’re guessing it sells more iPhone accessories than anything else.

The new law makes exceptions for devices that are too small for a USB-C port, such as smartwatches, fitness trackers, etc. Parliament has also ruled that by 2026, all laptops will have to use USB-C for charging. This might be interesting to see, for example, in the case of the best gaming laptops.

In addition, the EU wants all wireless charging standards to be standardized and open so that consumers are not locked into proprietary methods. (It’s not clear how this will affect, for example, Oppo/OnePlus and Apple MagSafe.) We think the EU will settle on the Qi standard as it seems to be the most common.

This law still needs to pass through the European Council for the directive to take effect, but it is likely that USB-C will become an EU standard in 2024 and 2026. The Council approves the directive. Anything sold before this date will be released.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier this year that he expects the iPhone 15 to adopt USB-C. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also confirmed that Apple is testing iPhones with USB-C. (will open in a new tab). Kuo believes that AirPods and other Lightning accessories will later migrate to USB-C. So let’s hope we get an iPhone 15 with USB-C and an iPhone 15 Ultra.

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