There has been speculation for a long time, but the assumption was confirmed on Tuesday: “USB-C has become a globally accepted standard,” Drence said at the presentation in Cupertino, California. “That’s why we’re introducing USB-C to iPhone 15.” The cable in Apple’s earbuds is also converted to USB-C. This means that future iPhones will be able to charge using the same cables as most smartphones, laptops, wireless headphones and other Android devices.
The new generation of Apple smartphones has a higher resolution camera and a brighter display. The new model is powered by the same chip as the iPhone Pro. For Apple, the sales success of its smartphones is crucial — they contribute more than half of the company’s annual sales of about $400 billion.
Apple defended itself against EU rules
One thing is clear: Apple did not change its mind voluntarily; The iPhone manufacturer has resisted switching to USB-C for years. The European Union quickly moved forward, adopting a single charging standard last year after much back and forth. As early as 2009, standard charger specifications were introduced for the first time, but only with voluntary commitments from manufacturers. While many manufacturers switched to the current Micro-USB at the EU’s request, Apple developed its own Lightning connector and has relied on it ever since.
Micro-USB is now history and has been replaced by USB-C practically everywhere. The advantages over the Apple plug are clear: USB-C can transfer data faster and can be used for many other purposes, and battery charging is faster too, as long as the cell phone and charger support the speed. In June 2022, the decision was finally made in favor of USB-C as the standard, which should be implemented by 2024.
Standardized charging cables
An EU directive states that from fall 2024, all new mobile phones, tablets and digital cameras in the EU can be charged via a USB-C port. The same applies to speakers, headphones, portable navigation systems, mice, and printers. Starting in the spring of 2026, all new laptops will also have a standard charging plug.
The EU Commissioner is pleased
The responsible EU Commissioner, Thierry Breton, was happy to see this now also happening at Apple. “Yes, we had discussions with Apple, and there was resistance at first. I very much welcome the fact that the requirements are being implemented now – about a year earlier than they should have been,” Breton stressed. The new rules are more consumer-friendly and will help Reducing e-waste Other manufacturers had already changed course on their own, but discussions were ongoing with others, Britton said.
Until recently, Apple argued that standardized charging cables would stifle innovation – and lobbied hard against the EU decision. Although there were almost no technical arguments for this, working with its Lightning connector was probably very profitable.
Unlike USB, charging cables must be licensed by Apple — pricing details aren’t public, but have been rumored in the past to be several US dollars per plug. That’s a lot of money for cables, which are often as cheap as can be. Apple will miss out on this income in the future.
Wireless in the future?
However, the final word on charging with USB-C has yet to be spoken. Eleven years after the introduction of the Lightning plug, Apple’s charging cable may now be coming to an end, with Mac computers and iPads already equipped with a USB-C port.
But USB-C is ultimately just an intermediate step, as many media outlets suspect. Because the future of the iPhone could be without a plug at all, as The Verge writes: After the headphone jack and SIM card are gone, the charging cable should also have an expiration date. Which is when wireless charging is further developed. There are no uniform rules for this yet, and the EU Commission is expected to take action here by the end of 2024.
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