Apple is under pressure to introduce USB-C to iPhone by autumn 2024, as the European Union establishes a new rule for all devices to use a single charging solution — meaning USB-C on the iPhone 16 will be mandatory.
In a press release, the EU, Parliament and Council negotiators agreed that USB Type-C will become the universal charging port for all mobile phones, tablets, and cameras in the EU. The single-charger solution extends to small and medium-sized devices, including e-readers, earbuds, headphones, portable speakers, and handheld gaming devices. Laptops will also be included but will have 40 months to adapt to the changes.
Apple has seen a lot of pressure to swap its iPhone's Lightning ports for USB-C for a while. The EU has been looking to establish a universal charger for smartphones and other devices, with the aim to reduce electronic waste and support customer convenience for charging.
Now, the Cupertino tech giant will need to switch to USB-C with 2024's iPhone launch, unless it doesn't want to sell the iPhone 16 in the EU. However, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that Apple is prepared for this, as it is expected to "abandon" the Lightning port and make the switch to a USB-C port by 2023.
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“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," said Parliament’s rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba. "We have also added provisions on wireless charging being the next evolution in the charging technology and improved information and labelling for consumers."
Major smartphone brands, including Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Nokia, previously agreed to sign a voluntary memorandum to start using the same chargers in 2011 with the goal to reduce the variety of chargers. However, Apple introduced its Lightning port in 2012 and expanded MagSafe technology to wirelessly charge its iPhone 12 and above.
Could Apple go portless?
Speaking of wireless charging, previous rumors indicated the iPhone could go portless. This speculation was for the iPhone 13, which we now know didn't come true. However, details emerged about a new recovery and software installation system that's apparently in its early stages.
According to the report, the new recovery method involves recovery over the internet via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth rather than a wired connection, so users won't have to ship their device to Apple every time they need information restored. With Apple's MagSafe, iPhones can wirelessly charge, too.
There's no telling when Apple may make the switch, or if it will go portless at all. Whatever case, the Lightning port will need to be ditched by 2024, meaning a USB-C iPhone will arrive soon enough.