‘We’ve No Choice’: Apple Says iPhones Will Switch Over To USB-C Chargers To Comply With New EU Law

‘We’ve No Choice’: Apple Says iPhones Will Switch Over To USB-C Chargers To Comply With New EU Law

Topline
Apple’s iPhones will switch over to USB-C chargers for its upcoming iPhone devices, the company officially acknowledged for the first time at a Wall Street Journal event on Tuesday, a move that comes a day after lawmakers in the European Union voted to ratify to enforce a common charging standard for all smartphones sold in the bloc from 2024.

Apple officially acknowledged its iPhones will soon switch over to USB-C.

NurPhoto via Getty Images

Key Facts

Speaking at the Journal’s Tech Live event, Greg Joswiak, Apple’s worldwide marketing chief said Apple will “obviously…have to comply” with the EU ruling adding “we’ve no choice.”

While acknowledging the shift Joswiak signaled the company wasn’t overly enthused by the fact that it was being forced to do so by EU lawmakers, noting over a billion people already have devices that use Apple’s Lightning chargers.

Joswiak also claimed that the proprietary Lightning cable and the USB-C cable would not exist if Apple had agreed to the EU original demand of using the older Micro USB charging cable which had poor reliability and could easily be damaged.

Joswiak added that the company is open to governments telling them what they want to accomplish but Apple’s engineers should be left to come up with a solution to accomplish that, instead being mandated to follow one.

The Apple marketing chief also argued that the problem of separate chargers for separate devices had largely been resolved by modern charging bricks which have detachable cables—depending on the device being charged.

Key Background
Earlier this week, lawmakers from EU member states gave the final approval to the bloc’s new common charging standard for portable devices. Under the new rules, all smartphones, tablets, headphones, cameras, gaming consoles, wireless mouse and keyboards will be required to have a USB Type-C charging port by the end of 2024. All laptops sold in the bloc will also need to comply with this rule by the spring of 2026. EU lawmakers argue this move will help cut down on e-waste and ensure people only have to carry a single charger for all their devices. At present nearly every modern Android device uses the USB-C chargers along with Apple’s own iPad tablets. While Apple’s new Macbooks come with its proprietary Magsafe charger, they also support charging via USB-C.

News Peg
Jowsiak did not offer a timeline for when the switch will happen. The EU’s law goes into effect in late 2024 but Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has reported that the USB-C charger was “essentially a lock” for next year’s iPhone 15. With the launch of the new 10th Generation iPad, all of Apple’s tablets already support USB-C charging. However, Apple’s AirPods still require a lightning charger and will need a design refresh to support USB-C.

What To Watch For
In his newsletter earlier this month Gurman reported that Apple’s switch to USB-C is only a stop-gap measure before the company fully embraces wireless charging on all its devices, essentially creating a ‘portless’ iPhone. In a likely attempt to get ahead of this shift, the EU’s press release on the common charging standard earlier this month also noted it was also working to “harmonize interoperability requirements” for wireless charging by the end of 2024. This move is likely to be met with less resistance as nearly all devices that support wireless charging—including Apple’s iPhones—are compatible with the interoperable Qi charging standard.

Big Number
$250 million. That is how much citizens of the EU spend every year on charger purchases, according to the bloc.

Further Reading
Apple Executives Say Privacy Controls and Advertising Can Coexist (Wall Street Journal)

Apple Will Have To Switch To USB-C Chargers For iPhones From 2024 After EU Vote (F0rbes)

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