Image Source: The Guardian
According to a new rule issued Tuesday by EU officials, Apple and other smartphone makers will be compelled to support the use of USB-C as part of a single charging standard for mobile devices across the European Union, latest by the fall of 2024.
According to Margrethe Vestager, Vice President of the European Commission, the legislation aims to decrease e-waste and minimize “cable clutter.” “Mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles, and portable speakers that are rechargeable through a wired cable must be fitted with a USB Type-C port, regardless of their manufacture,” according to a press release.
New small and medium-sized electronics sold in the EU will be subject to the new regulations.
Chargers that support fast charging will be required to follow suit. Wireless charging technologies are unaffected by the legislation, and consumers would have to be able to purchase a device without a bundled charger if they so desired.
Apple (AAPL) users should expect significant changes as a result of the new rule. Apple did not respond to reporter’s request for comment right away. However, according to an EU Parliament report, Apple notified EU officials during the legislative process that the new rule would render as many as a billion gadgets and accessories that use the company’s proprietary Lightning connector useless.
According to a 2021 study referenced in the same source, iPhones with the Lightning connector accounted for 18% of new mobile phone sales in 2019, with 44% using USB-C and 38% utilizing the older USB Micro-B connector.
The fate of Apple’s Lightning connector has been written on the wall for quite some time. Apple already employs the USB-C standard in some Macs and iPads and is rumored to be testing iPhone versions without the Lightning port. However, Apple’s statement on Tuesday might hasten the company’s transition to USB-C, potentially leading to the end of Lightning worldwide.
Efforts to impose a common billing standard across Europe have been ongoing for more than a decade. Officials had gained industry backing for the USB Micro-B standard at one point, but a voluntary agreement among major manufacturers to that end expired in 2014 and was not restored. The upcoming law requiring USB-C, on the other hand, is one of the first of its sort.
The declaration came after a round of trilateral talks between the European Commission, Parliament, and Council on Tuesday. Before entering into force, the charging legislation must still gain final approval, but the procedure is mostly considered a formality.