Previously, there’s been a series of stories and reports flying across the internet about Apple being potentially forced to adopt USB-C on its iPhones in the near future.
That report might be changing to reality over the next few years as the European Union has now given the tech giant an ultimatum to switch from its Lightning Charging system to USB-C starting from autumn 2024.
The new regulation is meant to reduce e-Waste while introducing a single charging port for almost all electronic devices.
It’s no news that the majority of Android devices out there have adopted USB-C while major PC makers are also on the way to adopting this as well.
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Apple on the other way round stuck with the Lightning Port even though the company might in fact be pushing towards a completely portless smartphone by that time.
The reform was passed by an overwhelming majority in the European Parliament on Tuesday which was the first of its kind anywhere across the globe.
This potentially strengthens the EU’s role as a global standard-setter on telephone technology.
The new rules will make USB-C connectors used by Android-based devices the standard across the 27-nation bloc, forcing Apple to change its charging port for iPhones and other devices.
And as for laptop computers, this will become a necessity from the year 2025 giving manufacturers the time needed to adopt – although modern computers are already using USB-C.
Shares in European semiconductor manufacturers rose on Tuesday after the vote, including those of Apple suppliers STMicro and Infineon .
The deal extends to e-readers, TWS earbuds, as well as other technologies which could potentially have an impact on Samsung, Huawei, and other OEMs, according to analysts.
Apple, Samsung, and Huawei were not immediately available for comment.
So by the autumn of 2024, all smartphones sold will have to be compatible with a single charger, said Alex Agius Saliba, an EU lawmaker who steered the reform through the EU assembly.
However, old chargers will not in fact be outlawed because there will certainly be users with older devices with old charging systems.
The large size of the EU market means the new rules may lead to changes in other countries.
Saliba also narrates during a press conference that outlawing old chargers would have had a disproportionate impact on consumers and the environment while noting that the change is expected to lead to a gradual phase-out of older products.
In total 13 categories of electronic devices will have to adapt by autumn 2024.
The Parliament extended the original proposal from the EU’s executive Commission which covered only seven types of devices. Lawmakers also added laptops from 2026.
Apple on the other hand has warned about the proposal that it will hurt innovation and create a mountain of e-waste.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time that this will surface. There have been issues in the past whereby both iPhone and Android users have complained about having to constantly switch between different chargers for their devices.
The European Commission has estimated that a single charger would save about 250 million euros ($247.3 million) for consumers.
Half the chargers sold with mobile phones in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector, while 29% had a USB-C connector, and 21% were Lightning connector, which is used by Apple, a 2019 Commission study showed.
Apple is however reportedly working on an iPhone with USB-C charging port that could potentially debut in 2023 according to Bloomberg.
However, Apple entirely removing physical SIM trays in favor of eSIMs for US customers could mean the company wants to go completely portless with its devices before the 2024 ultimatum.
The Commission has also been mandated by lawmakers to assess the possible regulation of wireless charging, but an EU official said no decision has been made yet, noting that the technology is not yet mature.