September 27, 2023

New iPhones at all times arrive with upgrades, however this yr’s crop will function one enchancment that Apple didn’t need to make.

On account of new EU guidelines, the US tech big is about to ditch its Lightning charging cable for a USB-C wire. The whole vary of iPhone 15s is predicted to make the transition. Full particulars will probably be revealed at Apple’s Wonderlust occasion, which begins at 19:00 CEST at this time.

The transfer will fulfill EU necessities to standardise cellular chargers. From 28 December 2024, each new telephone offered within the bloc will need to have USB Sort-C port. The regulation may even cowl different transportable digital gadgets, together with tablets, digital cameras, and headphones. In spring 2026, the duty will probably be prolonged to laptops. 

Lightning lovers and EU critics have slammed the foundations as one other case of presidency overreach. They accuse the bloc of sacrificing innovation on the altar of regulation.

When utilized to different European tech directives, these arguments could have validity. On this case, nevertheless, the EU guidelines may genuinely make the world a greater place.

The laws goals to enhance sustainability, scale back digital trash, and make client lives simpler. Unused and discarded chargers create an estimated 11,000 tonnes of e-waste a yr. In accordance with the EU, the brand new regulation will enhance their reuse and assist shoppers save as much as €250mn a yr on pointless cable purchases. 

Apple, nevertheless, has been immune to the adjustments. The US tech big spent years lobbying in opposition to the change earlier than lastly conceding defeat.

In 2019, Apple commissioned a examine that claimed the regulation would value shoppers €1.5bn. The corporate additionally warned the transfer would consign tens of millions of cables and adaptors to the scrapheap. Curiously, the agency didn’t elevate such issues when it switched to the expensive Lightning connector in 2012.

Business specialists predict that Apple will quickly change its tune. Thomas Husson, a principal analyst at analysis agency Forrester, expects a special tone now that the transfer to USB-C is going on.

“The probably shift from iPhone’s charging port shifting from Lightning to USB-C will probably be marketed as a key client profit, which is a paradox after Apple pushed again on this normal for a few years,” he mentioned.

A USB-C cable next to a Nobel Prize medal