After announcing its plans last September, lawmakers in the European Union announced today that they had reached a provisional agreement on legislation that will mandate phones sold in the EU must include a USB-C port by fall 2024.
A new press release from the European Parliament notes that USB-C will become the EU’s “common charger,” meaning that electronics such as smartphones, tablets, cameras, and handheld gaming consoles sold in the EU will require a USB-C port for wired charging. “The charging speed is also harmonised for devices that support fast charging,” the press release notes, “allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger.”
The move has been made to lower electronic waste and make life easier for EU-based consumers, who will only need one cable type to charge all small and medium-sized devices. Laptops will also need to adopt the standard, but manufacturers have much longer to make changes, with 40 months added to the fall 2024 deadline.
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The legislation will impact Apple in particular. Apple does have products that use USB-C ports, such as the iPad Air (Gen 4 and Gen 5) but, since 2012, iPhones have been using the tech giant’s proprietary Lightning cable to charge through a wired connection. Apple is the only major smartphone maker to still use a proprietary port instead of USB-C.
While this seems to be a major hit to Apple regarding the usage of its proprietary charging port, recent reports suggest that Apple is already heading in that direction with its iPhones. Last month, Bloomberg reported that Apple was testing iPhones equipped with a USB-C port. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also claims that Apple could switch to USB-C on iPhones as early as next year.
There’s also the chance that Apple could avoid the law altogether, as the EU’s latest press release notes that the law only covers devices that have ports used for wired charging. Apple could seemingly ditch a wired chargin port altogether and make iPhones that rely solely on wireless charging. Since 2020, Apple has included the option for its newer iPhone models (iPhone 12 and iPhone 13), which offer two wireless charging options: Qi, and its proprietary wireless charging method, MagSafe.
Apple has not yet publicly responded to the EU announcement.
Taylor is the Associate Tech Editor at IGN. You can follow her on Twitter @TayNixster.
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