Apple given deadline for swapping iPhone lightning port for USB-C | Science & Tech News

Apple has been given an official deadline to swap the lightning charging port on new iPhones to USB-C.

The company has reluctantly confirmed it will comply with the EU directive, which will require all smartphones, tablets, cameras, and other small devices to adopt the same standard.

While the bloc said the move would reduce e-waste and be pro-consumer, Apple argued it would stifle innovation.

The tech giant’s handsets sport proprietary lightning ports, with only some models of the iPad featuring the USB-C jacks favoured by Android phones and many other devices, including games consoles and headphones.

A previous attempt to introduce a common charging port across the EU failed back in 2018, but a provisional agreement was reached earlier this year and was voted through by the European Parliament in October.

The official rules on USB-C have now been published by the European Commission, setting an almost two-year deadline of 28 December 2024 for all portable devices to comply.

Laptops have been given longer to get up to speed, with an enforcement date of 28 April 2026, while devices that charge exclusively wirelessly – like the Apple Watch – are exempt.

What does the EU’s directive say?

In documents published this week, the EU says it was committed to increasing “interoperability” between devices.

In practice, that means people should not have to worry about reaching for a knotted mess of various cables at the bottom of a bag or back of a drawer when they want to charge something.

The documents say the move will also “reduce unnecessary waste and costs”, something Apple has claimed it has attempted to do in recent years by removing packed-in charging adapters from new iPhones altogether.

Apple executive Greg Joswiak has claimed that it “would have been better environmentally and better for our customers to not have a government be that prescriptive”.

When will we see our first USB-C iPhone?

If Apple sticks to its usual annual naming pattern, USB-C will be on the iPhone 16 at the very latest.

The company normally launches its yearly refresh of smartphones in September.

But reports suggest the switch could come sooner, possibly in time for the presumed iPhone 15 next year.

Other products from the company, like AirPods cases and Mac mice, will also have to change.

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