New EU proposal would force Apple to create USB-C iPhone, ditch Lightning - PhoneArena

New EU proposal would force Apple to create USB-C iPhone, ditch Lightning

New EU proposal would force Apple to create USB-C iPhone, ditch Lightning
After a decade of the Lightning connector, a USB-C iPhone could finally be in sight. The European Commission has announced a proposal that would force all electronics manufacturers to adopt a common port.

EU proposal: USB-C for all, universal fast charging, and no chargers in the box

The newest proposals aim to cut down on electronic waste across the European Union, forcing manufacturers to adopt the USB-C standard on all sorts of devices and allowing customers to use one charger for everything.

The European Commission is also proposing ‘harmonized fast charging technology.’ In other words, manufacturers would have to work together on universal fast charging standards that are compatible with virtually any charger.

At the same time, devices could be forced to ship without adapters inside the box. The idea, which is something Apple and Samsung already do, is that such a move would encourage customers to reuse their old chargers. That shouldn’t be an issue if there’s a common port and fast charging standard.

Last but certainly not least, the European Commission wants manufacturers to provide relevant information about charging, including which charging standards a device supports and how much power is required.

Customers should then be able to make an informed decision before purchasing a new device — they’ll know whether their current charger works with the new device or if a new adapter is required.

For these latest proposals to become law, they'll need to pass a vote in the European Parliament, which has previously voted in favor of similar initiatives. Therefore, there's a good chance the proposals will be implemented. 

Once they are, manufacturers will have 24 months to comply. Assuming these proposals become law next year, the 2024 iPhone 16 could be the first USB-C iPhone. 

The iPhone, iPad, and AirPods would all need to switch to USB-C

While smartphones are the most important category in terms of volume, the European Commission also wants brands to use USB-C connectors on tablets and cameras, in addition to portable speakers, video game consoles, and headphones.

Most Android smartphone manufacturers use USB-C across their entire ecosystem of products, so the universal connector changes that are being proposed for the European Union are unlikely to make much of an impact.

Apple, on the other hand, could be severely affected. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, the iPhone currently uses Apple’s proprietary Lightning standard. Moving the iPhone over to USB-C in the European Union means that it’s likely to happen on a global level too — it wouldn’t make sense to create two different versions of the iPhone.

Apple’s entry-level iPad, which was updated just last week, and its range of AirPods use Lightning too. The proposals mean future generations of those products would need to switch over to USB-C too.

In a statement shared with Reuters, Apple said; "We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world."

It's worth noting that Apple already uses USB-C on a range of products including its entire MacBook lineup and every iPad except for the entry-level version. The company's resistance to the changes likely has more to do with its Lightning revenue — the company earns a commission from all Lightning accessories — and less to do with innovation.  

The changes don't apply to wireless charging; Could Apple go all-in with MagSafe?

Worth noting is the fact that the European Commission's changes don't apply to wireless charging. In other words, if Apple were to create a portless iPhone as rumors have suggested in recent years, it would be able to circumvent these latest proposals. 

Such a move would likely see the iPhone switch to the Qi wireless charging as standard, though Apple itself is likely to push its lineup of MagSafe accessories.
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