EU Proposes to Force Apple to Switch iPhone, iPad, and AirPods From Lightning to USB-C

The European Commission has presented legislation that would compel Apple to use a USB-C port on all iPhones, iPads, and AirPods in Europe (via Reuters).

USB C Over Lightning Feature
The proposal, known as a directive, would force all consumer electronics manufacturers who sell devices in Europe to ensure that all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers, handheld videogame consoles feature a USB-C port. This "common port" would be a world first and impact Apple in particular since it widely uses the Lightning connector instead of USB-C on many of its devices.

In 2018, the European Commission tried to reach a final resolution on the issue but it failed to come into law. At the time, Apple warned that forcing a common charging port on the industry would stifle innovation and create electronic waste as consumers were forced to switch to new cables. A European Commission impact assessment study conducted in 2019 found that half of all charging cables sold with mobile phones had a USB micro-B connector, 29 percent had a USB-C connector, and 21 percent had a Lightning connector.

Environmental benefits, reduced waste, convenience, and $293 million in annual savings for users are said to be among the advantages of the new directive.

The draft legislation also proposed that chargers should be sold separately from electronic devices, a move that Apple already started with the iPhone 12 and Apple Watch Series 6 models last year. The European Commission is also planning to revise its eco-design regulations to ensure that external power supplies for devices are interoperable.

In a statement shared with Reuters, Apple said "We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world." The company also expressed concerns about the proposed two-year transition period to switch to USB-C.

The directive now needs to be greenlit by the EU Parliament and national governments, who may suggest amendments, before it can come into law. The European Commission hopes that this will occur in 2022. From that point, companies will have two years to transition to USB-C on their devices.

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Top Rated Comments

deeddawg Avatar
36 months ago

What's crazy to think is the latest iPhone 13 Pro Max uses the same charging cable as a 2012 iPod nano.
Even more crazy - your 2021 computer and 1970 refrigerator can use the same wall outlet!
Score: 100 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KillerTree Avatar
36 months ago
EU forced Tesla to use the standard CCS plug instead of the proprietary Tesla plug. This let Teslas use 3rd party chargers without an adapter, and when Tesla opens up their charging network to everyone, everyone else doesn't have to use an adapter to charge at a Tesla charger.

These kind of regulations can be a great thing if done correctly.
Score: 88 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GubbyMan Avatar
36 months ago
As much as I would want iPhone to have USB-C I hope this never gets through. Imagine if they did this when micro-USB was the standard. We would have been stuck with that forever. At some point we will get a connector that's even better than USB-C but this legislation would not allow any new standard to be used.
Score: 66 Votes (Like | Disagree)
msp3 Avatar
36 months ago
And this is how the iPhones goes portless... to escape the EU police state
Score: 55 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pi=e=3 Avatar
36 months ago

good luck with that
Wouldn’t be that hard. Want to sell your products in the EU? Comply. No? Ok, you can’t sell them here, say bye to a large income source.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adamlbiscuit Avatar
36 months ago
What's crazy to think is the latest iPhone 13 Pro Max uses the same charging cable as a 2012 iPod nano.

EDIT: I just find it amusing is all, but some thoughtful comments in response gave me a wider perspective on Lightning's capabilities. Lightning on iPhone 13 looks the same as the lightning cable for the iPod nano, but despite that it has different capabilities in the same way USB 1.0 and USB 3.0 are indistinguishable yet remarkably different. Every day's a school day!
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)