EU Could Force Apple to Adopt USB-C for iPhone by 2024

BY Chandraveer Mathur

Published 7 Jun 2022

USB C micro USB USB A Lightning cable

Earlier this month, we reported that lawmakers in the EU were set to meet and finalize the law mandating that iPhones switch from Lightning to USB-C. The authorities have now reached an agreement on the legislation.

Ahead of a press conference scheduled for later in the day, the European Parliament’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection took to Twitter to announce the development. The legislation has been deliberated for years, but different bodies of the EU reached an agreement on the bill’s scope this morning. In a statement about the matter, the European Parliament’s representative Alex Agius Saliba said, “Today we have made the common charger a reality in Europe! European consumers were frustrated long with multiple chargers piling up with every new device. Now they will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics.”

However, the legislation still needs to be approved by the EU Parliament and Council later this year. In a recent press release, the European Parliament said the law should be enforced by “autumn 2024.”

For the uninitiated, the new laws intend to standardize the charging connectors and wattage for all electronics, including smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones, portable gaming consoles, etc. The legislators are inclined to ensure all the electronics manufacturers transition to using USB-C for charging. The legislation could also help streamline fast charging standards and wireless chargers.

The lawmakers believe the changes will cut costs for customers and manufacturers in the long term because devices won’t need to ship with a charger in the box. The EU estimates that consumers could save up to 250 million euros every year by avoiding “unnecessary charger purchases” and slash annual e-waste generation by 11,000 tonnes.

For brands like Apple, this law could spell significant changes. Although the iPad and MacBook lineup have switched to USB-C, iPhones still use the proprietary Lightning connector. Apple would need to eventually switch to USB-C on the iPhones sold in the EU. Alternatively, the company could go portless and skirt the rule because it only applies to devices “rechargeable via a wired cable.”

The Cupertino giant’s decision could have a significant impact due to the scale of iPhone sales. Of the 241 million iPhones the company sold worldwide in 2021, 56 million were sold in Europe. However, the company remains opposed to the change. Last year, it told Reuters that the law would create e-waste because Lightning accessories would become redundant.

“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.”

Meanwhile, reputed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo speculates that Apple’s first USB-C iPhone could debut early next year. He adds that USB-C iPhones are already being tested behind closed doors.

[Via The Verge]