Will EU's Legislation About USB C Port on Electronics Impact Apple?

Will EU's Legislation About USB C Port on Electronics Impact Apple?

In the September 2021 press release, the European Commission disclosed a plan to mandate smartphone makers to utilize a standardized USB-C charging connection on all devices. The range of chargers on the market, according to the EU, creates a significant environmental concern. Because different gadgets utilize different ports, the ordinary consumer must possess numerous chargers, which is cumbersome and increases the quantity of e-waste generated by each individual. According to the UNU, the world dumped 53.6 million tons of e-waste in 2019, with just 17.4 percent of that amount recycled. The EU's one-charger-for-all policy is an attempt to reduce these astonishing e-waste statistics, but Apple appears to disagree. In reaction to the EU news release, Apple said that transitioning to USB-C would be more wasteful than continuing with Lightning since users would have to replace their Lightning-charged gadgets. And, speaking from experience that is rational reasoning.

Later, The European Union reached a deal on June 7, 2022, forcing all new smartphones, laptops, cameras, and tablets to use the same USB C-type charger by 2024. Keep in mind that Apple is already launched MacBooks and IPads with USB C. But after the EU's Legislation on USB C Type Chargers, Apple may launch air pods and iPhones with USB C ports. Otherwise, they can also go wireless charging completely.

What is a Lightning Connector?

Apple released the iPhone 5 in September 2012, which was significant, not just for giving us more screen real estate than previous models but also for introducing the Lightning Connector. And while it was a welcome change from the previous big fat 30-pin cable, we're still stuck with it ten years later. And it hasn't exactly aged well. Of course, there is that old saying, "If it isn’t broke, don't fix it." But the Lightning connector has the obvious problem that the rest of the phone world has moved on to USB type C, which is faster and more versatile. So why is Apple stubbornly holding on to such an old connector other than, you know, keeping a proprietary standard around to make more money? It might surprise you that Apple is part of the USB implementers’ forum, the original group of companies that worked on USB type C. However, Apple wanted to go ahead and start getting thinner, sleeker devices to market and given their timetable for the iPhone 5, they didn't want to wait for the USBC standard to get finalized. So they slapped their own miniaturized port onto the phone instead. And given that USB-C didn't start appearing in smartphones until 2015, that initial decision does look like it made some sense.

Open standards in the tech industry take a notoriously long time to get approved and make their way onto gadgets. And even the lengthy approval process does not mean that they will end up working perfectly. In fact, the public release of USB-C didn't go very well, with lots of poor-quality cables and accessories hitting the market. This meant Apple was quite happy to stick with their proprietary connector, which gave them much more control over what consumers were actually getting. Apple either produces Lightning devices itself or licenses out the spec to third parties of its own choosing. And while that approach drives up costs, it admittedly does make quality control a bit easier.

Rumors around USB C Airpods Pro 2 and iPhone 15

Apple is highly secretive, and it rarely replies to media speculation about its plans. So everything that we can say is just based on rumors. And the rumor which is now speculating in the market that Apple is launching the AirPods Pro 2 and iPhone 15 with USB C? Apple currently utilizes USB-C connections to charge laptops and an increasing number of tablets. Still, it also includes Lightning connectors on smaller and more portable products like iPhones and AirPods, as well as Mac peripherals like its mouse, trackpad, and keyboard. It implies that even someone who has fully committed to Apple's ecosystem of products will be unable to travel with only one charging cord. As tweaks like these show, there's little stopping Apple from adopting a more convenient global charging standard, a decision that's likely motivated by the control the exclusive Lightning interface gives Apple.

This fall, Apple will likely unveil the AirPods Pro 2 alongside the iPhone 14. The new premium wireless earbuds should outperform their predecessors in various ways, not only in terms of music/audio quality. According to a recent source, the AirPods Pro 2 would have a heart rate monitor, hearing aid capabilities, and a USB-C connector rather than Lightning connectivity. Another leaker now claims that the information was correct. According to Apple reports, the new AirPods Pro 2 will include USB-C connectivity before the iPhone 15's projected USB-C transition next year. The earphones themselves will remain unchanged, with the same stem design utilized in all AirPods generations. Furthermore, according to the leaker, the earbuds will only be available in white.

However, the AirPods Pro 2 case will have a speaker near the USB-C connector on the bottom. The cover will be compatible with Apple's Find My app, allowing users to track down a misplaced pair of AirPods. The speaker, like AirTags and other Apple gadgets, will utilize sound to assist customers in locating the lost case. While the Find My feature is vital, the move from Lightning to USB-C on the AirPods Pro 2 may be even more so. It suggests that Apple will soon add USB-C support to the iPhone. The iPhone 14 is too late, but next year's model may get the port.


Apple has already brought the USB C to many of their gadgets like MacBooks and iPads. Due to the EU’s new legislation, there is a massive possibility that Apple may shift to USB C from Lightning ports for the upcoming iPhone and Airpods. And as long as we think that day isn’t much far from when we will be able to charge all of our electronic devices with just one cable. 


Author: Talha Nadeem

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