Update: While there was never any doubt, today the Cabinet approved the previous vote, which is the final step required for it to become law. Now it simply needs to be signed and posted for it to take effect.
We reported in June that iPhone USB-C devices would become mandatory from 2024 for all models sold in Europe, as the European Union reached an agreement on a common charging port for all smartphones.
We then said that although a full vote of the European Parliament was required, it was sure to pass – and today the European Union confirmed that this had indeed happened…
Background on the law
The law’s primary goal is to reduce electrical waste, as consumers discharge phone chargers and/or cables when they get a new phone.
The EU has always felt the solution to this is to force a single charging port. We can be very thankful that it took so long to get from initial proposal to law, because when the idea was first floated, the most common port was the really sinister microUSB port. This was at the same time unidirectional and very sharp.
Now, though, the standard will be the USB-C port, which has already been adopted by most premium and mid-market Android smartphones.
US lawmakers have also expressed support for this approach, noting that it will reduce consumer costs as well as mitigate e-waste.
Apple’s Journey to USB-C iPhone
Although the law would actually force Apple to switch iPhone ports from Lightning to USB-C with the iPhone 16, it seems likely that the company would have actually made the switch anyway.
Apple began adopting USB-C for Mac computers in 2015, with the 12-inch MacBook. Then I moved on to my 2016 MacBook Pro, before backing off a bit last year by restoring the MagSafe, HDMI, and SD card slots.
The iPad made the transition from Lightning to USB-C in 2018, with the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models.
That left the iPhone as Apple’s only core product with a Lightning jack. Since the iPhone kept the older connector years after the Mac and iPad adopted USB-C, some suspected it would continue to do so until the first portless model. However, Ming-Chi Kuo reported earlier this year that Apple would switch to USB-C in the iPhone 15.
An improvement to the USB4 specification announced just last month provides another incentive for the switch, delivering data transfer speeds of up to 80Gbps.
The law passes by an overwhelming majority
As expected, the law was easily approved by Parliament.
The new law, which was adopted in plenary session on Tuesday with 602 votes in favor, 13 against and 8 abstentions, is part of the EU’s broader efforts to reduce e-waste and enable consumers to make more sustainable choices.
Not just smartphones, but a whole host of other devices.
Regardless of the manufacturer, all new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones, headphones, portable video game consoles, portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, earphones, computers Portable that can be recharged via a wired cable, with a power delivery of up to 100W, it must be equipped with a USB Type-C port.
Can Apple finally seize the opportunity to put the infamous charging port back into the Magic Mouse?!
The law will also apply to laptops from 2026, but Apple is of course already ahead of the game here. While the latest models have MagSafe charging ports, they can also be charged via USB-C.
Presentation: iPhone Concepts
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