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So long Lightning, EU ruling calls for USB-C iPhones
The new ruling will make USB-C the charging standard for phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU by late 2024.
This story was originally published on WhistleOut.com.au.
European Parliament has ruled that USB-C will be the charging port of choice for all new phones, tablets, and cameras sold in the European Union by late 2024. This paves the way for a USB-C iPhone, ostensibly killing off Apple's Lightning connector.
Apple would technically only be required to sell USB-C iPhones in the EU, but it seems unlikely that it would offer a USB-C model for Europe and a Lightning model for the rest of the world. The iPhone is also one of the manufacturer's few products that still uses a Lightning connector. Most iPads and MacBooks now support USB-C charging. The one exception is the entry-level iPad, which still has a Lightning connector.
The ruling would also force Apple to ditch Lightning for its AirPods.
Rumours published in Bloomberg suggest Apple is already testing a USB-C iPhone, but isn't expected to make the change until 2023 at the earliest. This means this year's iPhone 14 (assuming that is its real name) will almost certainly still feature a Lightning connector.
Of course, there is every chance Apple could ditch wired charging cables entirely. The new legislation only applies to devices capable of being recharged via wired charging, and as such, Apple could seemingly build a wireless charging only iPhone as a fun little loophole. Wireless charging is however slower than wired charging, and this would make it all but impossible to connect wired accessories to an iPhone.
The move to USB-C could be a big win for consumers from an accessories perspective. Apple forces accessory manufacturers to pay to use the Lightning connector and go through a strict approval process. Given USB-C is a far more ubiquitous standard, Apple wouldn't be able to enforce the same level of control. This in turn could lead to more devices that work with Apple's handsets.
The EU USB-C legislation also covers tablets, e-readers, cameras, headphones, headsets, portable video game devices, and portable speakers. The legislation will eventually cover laptops too.
Disclosure: This author owns shares in Apple