Apple‘s iPhone 15 will likely ship with a USB-C port instead of Lightning following proposed legislation by the European Union. The legislation has been a long time in the making, with the original plans to standardize a charging port going back more than a decade. However, the European Parliament only announced concrete transition plans last September. Once the legislation is enacted, USB-C will become the universal charging standard in the EU for consumer tech gadgets.
Apple initially introduced the Lightning port in 2012. It was revolutionary at the time, as it was substantially smaller than the clunky old 30-pin connector used by previous iPhones. What’s more, Lightning connectors also come with a reversible design, something that has been adopted by USB-C as well. Unlike Micro USB, the reversible design in Lightning and USB-C allows users to plug in their cable either way without affecting functionality. Thanks to the impending legislation, Apple is already testing iPhones with USB-C ports, meaning the transition is only a matter of time.
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European Union lawmakers are set to pass legislation that will require all mobile gadgets to use USB-C ports for wired charging. According to a press release announcing the EU’s new plans, all mobile devices sold in the EU must have a USB-C port “by autumn 2024.” The rule will apply to smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, handheld video game consoles, e-readers and more. Laptops will also have to comply eventually, but they’ll get a bit more time to ensure compliance. The proposed legislation will still need to be voted on by the EU Parliament and Council later this year for the rule to come into effect, but enough lawmakers have already agreed to the proposal to make the final vote a bit of a formality.
Apple Will Be Affected By The New EU Rule
Among the major consumer electronics companies, only Apple will be significantly affected by this development, as most of the others already use USB-C in their phones, tablets and other devices. Among Apple‘s products, Macs currently use USB-C (Thunderbolt) ports, as do select iPad models. However, most iPads and AirPods still use Lightning. Following the passage of the new legislation, Apple will have to transition all its mobile products, including iPhones, iPads and AirPods, to the new standard.
As for the reasons behind the introduction of a common charging standard, the EU says that it will reduce e-waste, which is becoming a major cause for concern with every passing year. According to the EU’s estimates, the standardization could save consumers 250 million euros ($267 million) per year on unnecessary charger purchases. What’s more, the transition to USB-C is also said to cut down on around 11,000 tonnes of e-waste per year. Furthermore, the organization believes that the new rule will make life easier for consumers as they will no longer have to carry around different chargers for different devices. Instead, the legislation will make it possible for them to carry just one USB-C charger and cable for all their charging needs.