Apple bows to EU, iPhone 15 likely to have USB-C port

EU law requires manufacturers to adopt Type-C chargers in phones, tablets, etc by December 2024.
Sejal Sharma
Apple Iphone 13 Pro and USB Type-C port
Apple Iphone 13 Pro and USB Type-C port


Apple will switch out its proprietary Lightning charging port in iPhones to be compatible with a USB Type-C cable instead, reported Bloomberg first. The $3 trillion company is simply adhering to the laws set by the European Union.

The EU law says that by 2024-end, all mobile phones, tablets, and cameras sold in countries under the EU will have to be equipped with a USB-C charging port. From spring 2026, the obligation will extend to laptops as well. The law's overall purpose is to cut down on environmental waste and save consumers an estimated $247 million per annum.

New phone, new charger

“Regardless of their manufacturer, all new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, earbuds and laptops that are rechargeable via a wired cable, operating with a power delivery of up to 100 Watts, will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port,” said the EU press release.

Consumers will not have to buy a different charger for Android and Apple products. The company switched to USB-C on some laptops in 2015 and the iPad Pro in 2018. The critical product remaining with Lightning ports is the iPhone, AirPods, and Mac accessories. Although Apple has until next year to comply with the law for its iPhone, it seems it has decided to give in to EU regulations a year early.

Apple event on September 12

Apple is set to reveal its new array of products on September 12, announced on its website, and the announcement around the change in its charging port is also expected that day. The most awaited product in its line-up of tech gadgets is iPhone 15. Speculations are rife about the upgrades and a possible rebranding of a ‘Pro Max’ model to ‘Ultra.’

There was a time sometime last year when it was widely speculated that the company might not go the EU’s way after all but switch to fully wireless charging in iPhones and other products. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman argued that changing from Lightning to USB Type-C won’t happen till the end of 2023, but if it does, it would just be a stopgap in its plan to go wireless completely. It’s safe to say that complete wireless charging is still a few generations away.

As per the report, Apple has pushed back on the shift, saying in 2022 that “strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.”

Pushback from Apple was anticipated, given that Lightning is a proprietary product launched in 2012. Only Apple or the companies that have licensed the tech from Apple can manufacture and sell the Lightning cable. 

People need a set of extra cables - one for their car, one for the bedroom, and one for the office. And the company saved a whopping $6.9 billion after it unceremoniously stopped selling chargers with its iPhone in 2020. So how much does it stand to lose now that it would see a drop in Lightning cable sales? Only time will tell. But, in the future, will Lightning cables become obsolete? Probably not, because not everyone looking to buy an iPhone will opt for the latest model. Many will purchase older models. So, Lightning cables will stick around for a while.

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