The EU is planning a huge change to the way we all charge our smartphones and it could be costly for Apple and millions of owners of its popular iPhone. The European Commission wants all tech companies to adopt the generic USB-C port on their devices in a bid to cut down on electronic waste. The idea basically means that one cable would be able to refill your phone, tablet, portable console, laptop and smart speakers rather than having a box full of different adapters and wires.
Most Android devices and products such as the Nintendo Switch have already switched to USB-C but Apple remains committed to its Lightning port which is unique to the iPhone and some models of the iPad. If the rules are pushed through it would mean future iPhones would no longer feature this technology leaving millions with Lightning cables that would be rendered totally useless.
It’s thought that once a vote has taken place, firm’s would then have two years to change the ports on their devices. Apple already uses USB-C on some of its products including the new iPad mini, iPad Pro and MacBooks. However, the iPhone has never moved away from its Lightning port which was first introduced back in 2012 and Apple wants it to stay that way.
In a statement to the BBC, the US firm 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.”
Two years is a long time in the world of tech and it could be that Apple removes the charging port altogether.
Rumors have been rife that the US firm has been considering going completely wireless in future.
The latest iPhones all now feature a unique MagSafe connector that snaps to the case to boost the battery and, in the future, this could become the standard for all of its smartphones.
Of course, it does make some sense to have a single cable for every gadget but one worry for iPhone users will be all the Lightning-compatible accessories they own such as in-car chargers and speaker docks as these will all be rendered useless if Apple has to move to USB-C.
The EC hopes to push through the changes next year meaning the end of lightning could come as soon as 2024.
In a post on Twitter, the European Commission said: “Are your chargers piling up in a drawer? We propose a common charger for mobile phones and other similar electronic devices. A single charger will be more convenient for people and will reduce electronic waste.”
And in a statement, Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager added: “We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger. This is an important win for our consumers and environment and in line with our green and digital ambitions,”