All new devices must feature USB-C charging ports from mid 2024. But will Apple conform with its latest iPhone the 15 and is it the end of the Lighting charger?
A new EU directive is ensuring that all smartphones, tablets, and cameras sold in the EU will have a USB-C charging port by the end of 2024. However, Apple products currently use Lightning charging ports, which are unique to their products. Naturally, this means that everyone is wondering whether Apple is going to comply with the EU rules and use USB-C for their products in the future. If they choose not to, they could instead focus on wireless charging, doing away with wired charging completely.
The iPhone 15 is the next major Apple product on the market. The product will launch on the 12th of September, when we're sure to learn more about exactly which direction Apple will be heading in.
What Is USB-C?
USB (Universal Serial Bus) is a way of connecting devices together and charging certain devices. It was first available in 1996, but has since been updated multiple times to make it faster, smaller, and more secure. Some of the larger sizes include USB Type A and USB Type B, as well as the newer and faster USB 3.0. Smaller options include the Mini USB and Micro USB.
USB-C is the fastest connector available, combining technology from USB 3.0 and USB 3.1. It's a 24-pin connector that allows both data and power to be transferred using the same cable. Many devices, including Android smartphones such as Samsung, use this connector.
What Is the Lightning Connector?
While other manufacturers typically use these standard USB connectors in their devices, Apple has its own. The Lightning cable has been the standard Apple connector for more than a decade, since the release of the iPhone 5. But the big question is whether Apple is going to switch to USB-C or choose to focus on wireless charging instead.
What Does the EU Directive Say?
The new EU directive says that mobile phones, tablets, headphones, and other devices sold in the EU must have a USB-C charging port by 2024. The aim of this one-size-fits-all model is, according to the EU, to reduce e-waste. The EU hopes that people will be able to cut down on the number of cables they use and throw away if all devices feature a universal charging port.
What's Apple's Position?
Although the EU argues that mandating USB-C ports will reduce e-waste, Apple suggests the opposite. The argument on Apple's side is that the mandate will cause an increase in e-waste due to Lightning cables being replaced. They also argue that it stifles innovation. Despite that, Senior Vice President Greg Joswiak has previously said that Apple will have to comply with the mandate. Apple has also switched connectors in the past.
If Apple switches to USB-C, they will need to do so with the new iPhone 15 or the iPhone 15.1 next year, at the latest.
Will Apple Use USB-C or Move to Wireless Charging?
Apple has no choice but to ensure its devices have USB-C ports if they choose to continue offering a wired charging option. However, the other option could be for Apple to move to wireless charging. There's no requirement for wireless charging to change as it doesn't require a cable to connect to the phone.
Apple introduced Qi wireless charging in the iPhone 8 & enhanced the tech with Qi MagSafe since the iPhone 12. This allows all iPhones since the 8 to charge wirelessly with any Qi wireless charger. The introduction of MagSafe allows any MagSafe compatible device to easily dock onto the charger, enabling easy locking from device to charger and guarantees a perfect alignment every time.
There have been previous suggestions that Apple's aim is to eventually go completely wireless. However, whether they will do so this year or next remains to be seen. There are plenty of rumours that the iPhone 15 will have a USB-C charger and it has largely been confirmed by Apple.
What Will This Mean for Consumers?
This change will mean a couple of things for consumers. What it won't mean is that owners of Apple products need to rush out immediately and get USB-C cables. Apart from the fact that you may already own at least one, you will be able to continue to use existing Lightning ports and cables in your current devices. Of course, if you choose to replace existing products with new ones, your Lightning cables will eventually become obsolete. All said this is only a good thing, more devices being compatible with fewer cables!
However, with wireless charging, you could simply choose to drop cables altogether. Wireless charging is fast, neat (no trailing cables), and convenient. If you use wireless charging, it means you won't be affected by any changes to charging ports. You can reduce e-waste and save money too. See all wireless chargers here.