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Apple’s iPhone Will Need to Have USB-C by 2024, Says EU Agreement

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The European Parliament’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection has announced on Tuesday it has reached an agreement on a proposal to require a wide selection of consumer electronics to adopt USB-C as the standard for charging ports by fall 2024.

Apple’s iPhones and AirPods fall within the devices covered by the European Union (EU)’s directive. The iPhone maker should have plenty of time to make the transition, given that a report from last month indicated the company is internally testing iPhones with USB-C and Lightning-to-USB-C adapters for accessories.

TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects Apple plans to bring USB-C to its phones with the iPhone 15 in 2023. USB-C versions of accessories and USB-C charging for other devices will follow.

The EU has been trying to establish USB-C as the common charging port across most consumer electronics for several years now. The battle has been long and arduous, with the first attempt to pass such a proposal into law failing in 2018.

Members of the European Parliament said moving to USB-C will serve to reduce electronic waste, improve the sustainability of consumer electronics, and simplify the user experience for people with different devices.

However, Apple has consistently opposed the EU’s plans on a platform that killing its proprietary Lightning port would create an “unprecedented amount of electronic waste.”

Apple has (in)famously stuck with Lightning for the iPhone and AirPods despite a near-global movement towards USB-C. But change is coming to the iPhone it seems, as the latter will join USB-C available in various iPads and Macs.

The EU proposal will force USB-C ports on all new phones, tablets, laptops, digital cameras, headphones, headsets, handheld videogame consoles, and portable speakers sold in Europe, regardless of the manufacturer. Any devices too small to include a USB-C port, such as smartwatches, will not be subject to the requirement.

The directive also looks to mandate the interoperability of wireless charging solutions over time. Whether that will affect Apple is unclear at this time, since the company’s MagSafe charging system for the iPhone and AirPods is based on the Qi wireless charging standard.

“Today we have made the common charger a reality in Europe! European consumers were frustrated long with multiple chargers piling up with every new device. Now they will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics. We are proud that laptops, e-readers, earbuds, keyboards, computer mice, and portable navigation devices are also included in addition to smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers,” said the European Parliament’s rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba (S&D, MT).

“We have also added provisions on wireless charging being the next evolution in the charging technology and improved information and labelling for consumers,” said Saliba.

The legislation still needs to be formally approved by the European Parliament and European Council later this year. Once approved, the proposal will be officially adopted by the European Council and published in the EU Official Journal. The law will take effect 24 months after publication.

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