In 2021, the European Commission introduced legislation that would force mobile phone vendors to sell their products with a single standard USB-C port. Now, European lawmakers are set to meet next week on June 7 to finalize the legislation. This could mean that Apple will remove the Lightning port from the iPhone in favor of USB-C connectivity, possibly by 2023 with the iPhone 15 lineup.
EU’s common charger legislation might force Apple to adopt USB-C for iPhone
The directive aims to establish a common charger for mobile phones, tablets, cameras, and other electronic devices within the 27-nation bloc. Exemptions will only be made for devices that are too small to offer a USB-C port, such as smartwatches including the Apple Watch.
The Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCPC) claims the move is part of a broader EU effort to address product sustainability and reduce electronic waste. In addition, the MEPs also want manufacturers to offer clear information and labeling on new devices about charging options, as well as whether a product includes a charger to help avoid confusion and ease purchasing decisions.
As reported by Reuters, additional details about the legislation are set to be discussed at the upcoming June 7 meeting. From there on out, the directive will come into effect.
In 2018, the European Commission tried to reach a final verdict on the issue but it failed to materialize. At the time, Apple warned the EU against the move saying that forcing a common charging standard on the industry would create a significant amount of electronic waste as it would require consumers to switch to new cables.
However, recently it has been reported that Apple could remove the Lightning port from the iPhone with next year’s lineup. In addition, Apple could also switch more of its products from Lightning to USB-C including AirPods, Magic Keyboard, Magic, Trackpad, Magic Mouse, and the MagSafe Battery Pack. Note that this year’s iPhone 14 lineup will continue to use Lightning connectivity.
Apple initially planned to switch to a portless iPhone altogether instead of ditching its Lightning port for USB-C. However, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that there were some issues due to “current limitations of wireless technologies & the immature MagSafe ecosystem.”