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Apple could be forced to give iPhones USB-C ports if new law passes

Apple’s Lightning connector is still planned for the iPhone 14, but future iPhones and other products that use proprietary chargers may have to ditch them if the European Union has its way.

In the name of reducing e-waste and reducing complexity for customers, the EU has been aiming for several years to make USB-C the standard charger for portable devices. In the latest step forward for ‘Common EU Charger’ legislation, the bill was amended to apply to larger devices such as laptops, tablets and cameras, as well as phones, as the original plan suggested.

If you’ve ever heard of this story, it’s because passing a law can take a long time. The first draft of the proposed legislation (after extensive consultation) was approved in January this year, after several years of talks. The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection introduced the changes mentioned above, which will then go to another vote in the European Parliament in May before the start of discussions on the implementation of laws at the national level for EU members.

In addition, MPs want products to have information about charging options and whether there is an included power supply printed on the packaging. The European Commission (the executive arm of government in the EU) is also being asked to come up with a similar standard for wireless charging by 2026, which could affect things like Apple’s MagSafe charging. .

While this would affect all electronics companies operating in Europe, eyes tend to fall on Apple in these discussions because it uses unique charging systems like the Lightning port. Unsurprisingly, Apple doesn’t like the EU’s plans. He argues that the plan will hurt the economy and innovation, and no doubt the huge ecosystem of Lightning accessories is also hearing opposition from Apple.

Fortunately, aside from the basic iPhone and iPad, Apple already offers USB-C charging on most products that would be affected if the EU enacted the rules as they are. The only notable exceptions are the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro, which can be charged through their USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports but only offer their fastest speeds available through the proprietary MagSafe charging connector. This would allow Apple to meet the requirement while offering its own proprietary standard, although this dual-port strategy would not work on a much smaller tablet or phone.

Apple’s AirPods wireless headphones also use the Lightning port for charging. However, the EU’s current stance is that small items like smartwatches won’t be covered by the new rules, which could give Apple additional wiggle room to keep Lightning in certain products.

We are probably still years away from USB-C becoming the EU’s legally enforced charging standard. In the meantime, we have the iPhone 14 to look forward to. Despite early rumors that the iPhone 14 Pro models will adopt USB-C, the latest we’ve heard is that Apple will only implement a new version of the Lightning port with faster data speeds on iPhones. advantages

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