The European Union looks like it has emerged victorious over Apple, with the Californian tech company bowing to the bloc’s demands to implement USB-C charging in its latest version of the iPhone.
Until now, Apple has made it so that only cables with a proprietary lightning connector could be used to charge the company’s phones, something that has aggravated the EU, which has implemented regulations mandating that all mobile electronic devices must be chargeable via USB-C.
According to the EU, the change will likely see a reduction in the amount of e-waste. That is because people switching from Apple to Android or vice-versa will no longer need to buy a whole new suite of cables and accessories, and ditch what they already have, to get the most out of their devices.
After some legal back and forth over the conflict, Apple appears to have acquiesced to the bloc’s demands, with long-term Apple information-leak publisher Mark Gurman reporting that iPhone 15 will be the first to ship with a USB-C port.
“When the company introduces the iPhone 15 on September 12, USB-C connectors will appear on its four new phone models, as well as the AirPods Pro, and Apple will describe it as a major win for customers,” Gurman wrote.
Apple does not seem likely to accept the situation gracefully, with Gurman adding that the announcement of the new iPhone will not acknowledge the EU at all, nor the countless times the company has argued that a state-enforced pivot towards USB-C could limit innovation.
“When it’s introducing a new product or dealing with the media, it always wants to operate from a position of strength,” he said.
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— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) June 29, 2023
Regardless of the spin, the switch has largely been seen as a significant win for the EU, which has been able to strong-arm one of America’s most prominent tech giants into making a fundamental change over one of its flagship products.
Some within Brussels have tried to play down talk of Apple versus EU, with Pirate Party MEP Marcel Kolaja emphasising that the real beneficiary is the consumer.
“The establishment of a common charging port is a big win for consumers as it will help to simplify their everyday life,” he told Brussels Signal.
“Nobody will have to carry around five different cables anymore, one for their mobile phone, another one for their laptop, their tablet, headphones and so on,” the MEP added. “One charger and one cable will be all you need in your suitcase to charge your devices.”
” It will also help to protect the environment. Discarded chargers account for 11,000 tons of e-waste a year in the European Union. The common charger shall reduce this number greatly.”
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— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 3, 2023