The European Parliament this week voted for a new law that will eventually require all cell phones sold in the European Union to have a USB-C to charge the device wired.
This means that Apple will likely be compelled to remove the Lightning connector, which is already more than ten years old. smartphonesto upgrade to USB-C (or offer it for free) if you want to continue selling smartphones in this branch.
However, this movement is not unique to the European Union. At the end of June 2022, in Brazil, Anatel launched a public consultation on the same proposal, to make USB-C chargers mandatory for all smartphones sold in the country, which would also compromise Apple iPhones.
With such a measure, the focus of the European Union is to reduce e-waste. If more devices are compatible with the same cables, the European Parliament believes that fewer electronic devices and chargers will be discarded.
They estimate that 11,000 tons of discarded chargers, which are not used, end up in landfills. The initiative also aims to save 250 million euros for consumers who can reuse their chargers.
Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman also expects Apple to be forced to switch inputs on devices. The new EU regulation is technically an amendment to the Radio Equipment Directive, but has not yet been formally passed.
The legislation on common chargers still needs to be signed by the Council of the European Union and published in the Official Journal of the EU. From there, the law should come into force 20 days later.
After all, when will Apple have to change the input of smartphones?
At least in the European case, the closest to the law coming into force is a minimum of two years, this period being intended to ease the transition to a USB-C standard. According to a press release from the European Parliament, this means that the new rules would directly affect Apple until the end of 2024.
While not immediately necessary, it looks like Apple has been planning to switch to USB-C on iPhones for some time now. In May 2022, in a report by Mark Gurman, information leaked that the company was testing a new iPhone with a USB-C port and a Lightning adapter for the new standard.
However, Apple will be able to adapt to new rules much sooner than required by the European Union (already in the next generation of the iPhone 15, perhaps?). On the other hand, the company can still choose to minimize the structural changes of hardware and focus on distributing free Lightning to USB-C adapters directly in the cell phone box, as has already happened in Europe.
Market analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently suggested that Apple might be ready to make this change in 2023 (when it will likely launch the iPhone 15). Bloomberg’s Mark Garman says 2023 is the “earliest” time for the company to get started.
In any case, Apple seems destined to ditch its connector and finally adapt to the USB-C standard for smartphones.