Apple might finally ditch the Lightning connector... But not because it wants to

Apple might finally ditch the Lightning connector... But not because it wants to
UPDATE: As pointed out by The Verge, it appears the European Union's intentions have been misunderstood. Although the political union has previously encouraged the adoption of a universal port on smartphones, its latest efforts focus on the charger itself. 

Many smartphones ship with USB-A chargers these days while others are bundled with USB-C bricks, therefore creating unnecessary waste due to the incompatibility of cables. The original story continues below.

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Apple has been using the Lightning connector on iPhones since 2012 and has so far shown no interest in replacing it with USB-C despite pleas from users. But if the European Union has its way, Apple may be forced to adopt the standard against its will.

The European Union says multiple ports are unnecessary


European lawmakers today debated (via MacRumors) whether all smartphones and tablets, in addition to other portable devices, should have a standardized port to reduce waste and increase convenience. The European Union already encourages tech companies to do so but believes efforts have so far fallen “short.” 

As such, some members of the European Parliament are now looking to pass a law that’d force companies to commit to one port in the region. The proposed options include the legacy micro-USB port, Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector, and the much more common USB-C. 

A vote on the matter is scheduled to take place during the next parliamentary session. However, there is still a strong possibility that members will vote for a voluntary approach, which would allow companies such as Apple to simply ignore the regulations.

In a response to the idea last year, Apple argued that forcing all smartphones to have the same port would “freeze innovation.” It also argued that, because more than 1 billion Apple devices have shipped using Lightning, it’d result in an “unprecedented volume of electronic waste” that’d be bad for the environment. 

Apple also suggested it could tiptoe around the regulations by including what it calls “unnecessary cables or external adapters” inside boxes. Whether the EU plans to include something to stop this, however, remains to be seen.

Apple already uses USB-C on some products


Despite its apparent reluctance to adopt USB-C on the newest iPhone models, Apple isn't totally against the popular port. In fact, it already uses the common connector on several important products and even some of its accessories.

The most obvious examples are the 11-inch IPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, which launched simultaneously back in October 2018 and will be updated in March. These tablets target more professional users, much like Apple's MacBook laptops, which also feature USB-C ports.

The Silicon Valley-based company has also added the port to many of its newest fast chargers, including the 18W power brick that ships with the iPhone 11 Pro series. However, there's also an extensive range of products that skip USB-C. 

The entire iPhone lineup is the most obvious example, although the iPad and iPad Air in addition to the iPad Mini can be added to the list. Also included is the crappy 5W charger that ships with the iPhone 11 and previous models alongside the AirPods and AirPods Pro wireless earphones that Apple offers.

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