Your next iPhone may need a different charging cable. Here’s why

White USB-C Charging Data Cable, Type C and Lightning Cable over iPhone

Photo: Getty Images

Last week, European policy makers Been voted In a new law that requires the sale of all smartphones, tablets and cameras in the European Union Comes with a USB-C charger. As a result, by the end of 2024, consumers in EU markets will be able to use a single charger for all their mobile devices – bringing them one step closer to banishing unruly, barely-used cable boxes forever.

While the news is undoubtedly good for consumers, the decision will also force Apple to decide the fate of its Lightning charging cable, which is still used exclusively for a few Apple products: most importantly, the iPhone.

Last IPAD Models ditched the Lightning cable in favor of USB-C, as did the latest MacBook, perhaps in response to speculation that the EU mandate will soon be approved. To stay compliant with Europe’s new laws, Apple will have to make similar design changes to the iPhone, along with the Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard, and AirPods, all of which still feature a Lightning connector.

also: Most environmentally friendly smartphone? Apple vs Samsung in the race against e-waste

But will these changes be global, or could Apple choose to design a USB-C compatible iPhone specifically for European markets?

Jan Strejak, Associate Director of Counterpoint ResearchIt is speculated that Apple will eliminate the Lightning cable and switch all future iPhone models to USB-C charging. While there is a possibility that Apple will retain Lightning ports on future models in the US, Stryjak thinks it is unlikely.

“It might continue in the US because the US is one of Apple’s biggest markets,” he told ZDNET. “I would say that Apple will probably move entirely to the USB-C platform; they will go to great lengths to make two different phones.”

ZDNET contacted Apple for comment on the EU’s decision last week.

The device maker has long pushed the move to USB-C, arguing that having a variety of charging systems for consumer electronics is good for innovation. This is debatable, and when you consider the expense of old charging cables Nearly 11,000 tons of e-waste in Europe Every year, the argument for sticking with Lightning cables diminishes.

Of course, if future iPhone models feature USB-C ports, European iPhone users will be left with outdated Lightning cables. But this will not be a big problem for consumers.

“The only catch would be for consumers who have a lot of Apple products that all have Lightning charging, and they’ll need to buy new ones anyway,” Stryjak says. “But then most other products, like iPads or Macs, for example, will charge USB-C as well.”

also: Best green phones: sustainable and eco-friendly smartphones

Another possibility is that Apple is giving up charging ports entirely: Newer iPhones could only come with wireless charging capabilities, Strykag says, leaving traditional plug-ins charging in the past. The European Commission is aware of this possibility, and will include wireless charging interoperability requirements in the coming years.

“With the latest iPhone 14, they’ve gone exclusively to e-sim and removed the sim altogether, so you never know. By this time next year, the iPhone 15 could be exclusively wireless charging,” Strykag says.

Europe has passed its new rules with consumers and the environment in mind. According to the European Commission, The average consumer owns three charging cables, down from 30 ten years ago. All of these cables end up in the same place: a landfill.

Although Apple has Denounced universal charging cable in the pastStryjak believes the company might change its mind, especially if it wants its actions to align with its business. Sustainability Initiatives.

“It would make sense for Apple to line up,” Strejak says. “Apple is a key sustainability spokesperson. With the iPhone 14, they put a lot in terms of using recyclables and the iPhone Replacement Program — Apple is always on the cutting edge of that. So, I’d be very surprised if Apple didn’t say, ‘You know what, that’s Good thing. We must follow him.”

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