The European Parliament has officially signed its common charger law that will force mobile phone vendors to sell their products with a single standard USB-C port by December 2024. This means that Apple will soon have no choice but to ditch its proprietary Lightning port in favor of USB-C if it wants to continue selling iPhones in Europe.
All smartphones in Europe must offer USB-C connectivity by December 2024
The European Union’s common charger law has been in the works for several years. The directive has seen many developmental delays but now it has finally been signed into law. The common charger law 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 EU says that the move is a part of a broader effort to address product sustainability and reduce electronic waste. In addition, manufacturers will have 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.
The law will go into effect on December 27, 2022. Manufacturers will have until December 28, 2024, to comply with its requirements if they wish to sell their products in the region. Apple is expected to switch the iPhone to USB-C connectivity a year before the EU’s deadline.
TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously reported that the Cupertino tech giant is testing USB-C connectivity for next year’s iPhone 15 lineup. Adding onto this, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has said that Apple is fully prepared to transition most of its products to the new charging standard before the EU’s mandated deadline.
Gurman has also revealed that if Apple releases a new iPhone SE in the spring of 2024, it will feature a Lightning port since it would launch before the end of the year. However, if the tech giant releases an iPhone SE in 2025 or 2026, USB-C connectivity will be a requirement.
The Cupertino tech giant has already transitioned its entire iPad lineup to USB-C with the last device to make the switch being this year’s 10th-generation iPad. Apple could also switch more of its products from Lightning to USB-C like the AirPods, Magic Keyboard, Magic, Trackpad, Magic Mouse, and the MagSafe Battery Pack.