The fate of the iPhone after the regulation to remove the Lightning port in Europe

The European Union will force electronic device manufacturers to include USB-C in their products from the fall of 2024. Apple is the company that will be affected the most.

On June 7, lawmakers of the European Union passed a bill for companies that manufacture electronic equipment. In particular, devices such as smartphones, tablets and headphones must be equipped with a USB Type-C charging port. The plan will go into effect in the fall of 2024.

Apple is the company most affected by this new proposal. Currently, Apple still persists in using the Lightning charging port, which first appeared in 2012 on the iPhone 5.

Impact on Apple

Of course, these regulations still need to be approved by the European Council and the European Parliament before becoming official. It is expected that the agencies will approve the new regulation on September 1 and take effect after 20 days. As for the companies, they will have 24 months to make their adjustments.

According to estimates, the new European regulations could help cut more than 12,000 tons of e-waste annually. Besides, consumers also save a total of about 268 million USD by not needing to buy different chargers.

Follow The Verge, the iPhone line introduced in 2024, most likely the iPhone 16, will have a USB Type-C charging port. However, according to Desislava Dimitrova, spokeswoman for the European Parliament, the new regulation also requires that both new and old products must use the same charging port.

This forced Apple to make changes as soon as possible, as they had to remove previous generations of products that were using the Lightning port. Currently, Apple continues to sell older models for several years at lower prices.

In May, famous analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that Apple may be ready to make the charging port switch as early as 2023. Besides, author Mark Gurman of Bloomberg also corroborate this information. If positive, users could use an iPhone equipped with a USB-C port a year earlier than European regulations.

Of course, the EU cannot force Apple to make changes around the world. However, in fiscal year 2021, about 25% of Apple’s sales come from Europe, and the iPhone is the best-selling product worldwide. To maximize profits, Apple could make iPhones with USB-C ports and sell them exclusively in the EU.

But, as Apple often emphasizes, selling a bunch of devices out of sync will affect supply chain efficiency and have a direct impact on profits. Therefore, the plan almost did not happen.

For now, an Apple spokesperson declined to answer questions about its intentions to implement the regulation.

Apple can “circle the law”

Although the above regulation will affect Apple, the company may not have to replace the Lightning port on the iPhone thanks to wireless charging. Current EU law only covers wired chargers. So if a phone only has wireless charging, it could bypass EU regulations.

This has become well-founded when many rumors suggest that Apple has considered going in the direction of eliminating wired charging to circumvent the law. In addition, the MagSafe wireless charging standard introduced by Apple from the iPhone 12 series makes the rumors more grounded. However, Apple does not seem to be interested in this plan because the company has not built an accessory ecosystem around MagSafe charging, according to a review from the company. The Verge.

Before that, Apple tried to fight the EU’s intentions to standardize USB-C charging. In a response submitted to the European Commission in 2021, the company argued that the new regulations could slow down beneficial innovations, including those related to safety and energy efficiency. .

In addition, Apple said the new regulation could increase the amount of e-waste in the short term because users will have to throw away existing charging cables and accessories. With an estimated 1 billion iPhones in use around the world by early 2021, the amount of old accessories being discarded is huge.

Author Chaim Gartenberg’s The Verge The above moves show that Apple is only interested in profits, instead of protecting the environment or innovation. Currently, Lightning is Apple’s proprietary charging port, and accessory manufacturers must pass the company’s MFi (Made For iPhone/iPad/iPod) quality standard. This program allows Apple to get a share of the profits from the iPhone accessories market.


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