The European Union standardizes USB-C for smartphones and other handheld devices. Yes, this includes Apple products.

Apple will soon introduce a portless phone and then call it an innovation that set a milestone. What a way to not adopt USB-C.

USB-C cable and port

Several European Union lawmakers have reached an agreement on legislation that will force future smartphone manufacturers to adopt USB-C by Autumn 2024. This is a major blow to Apple’s Lightning port, which the company defended heavily. This rule will also apply to other devices that are applicable with USB-C including digital cameras, headphones, handheld consoles, tablets, and e-readers. The EU did not rule out or forbid any new ports and, if there’s an agreement set, will adapt to this newer standard.

The legislation has been around for a decade and has since been discussed. Only recently where an agreement was made, after several negotiations with different EU bodies. The governing body calls this the “common charger”.

“Today we have made the common charger a reality in Europe!” said the European Parliament’s rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba in a press statement. “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.”

This legislation was made in order to reduce e-waste and make life more convenient for consumers. With all the dangling wires hanging around, a consumer’s home can be a mess. With the former’s reasoning, EU lawmakers hope that chargers would no longer be included right out of the box as every home now has an “appropriate charger”. They then claim that this could potentially save up to EUR 250 million and cut down up to 11,000 tonnes of e-wastes annually.

Apple is the only major smartphone manufacturer to still use a proprietary port. In Europe, the company sold around 56 million iPhones in 2021. Globally, the company sold around 240 million iPhones.

Ben Wood, a Chief Executive of CCS Insight said that Apple has nothing to worry about since the company has already used USB-C ports on their other products, such as the MacBook and iPad Pro.

“Having one common charging standard would be a victory for common sense in the eyes of consumers,” he said. “Although Apple has made a strong argument for it keeping its lightning connector … some of its products, including Mac and iPad Pro, now support USB-C; hopefully it will eventually become a non-issue if Apple keeps adding USB-C to more devices, and that means ultimately we could see USB-C coming to iPhone.”

An iPhone with USB-C might become a reality as Apple is reported to be testing it for future iPhones.

Source: The Guardian, The Verge