The dilemma over the iPhone’s charging port

The EU wants Apple to change its charging port on future iPhones, to make the USB-C charging port common to all electronic devices.
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3 min read
iPhone Charging

When the iPhone 5 was released on September 12, 2012, Apple ditched its 30-pin charging port for the much faster Lightning connector, and iPhones have kept with Lightning ports ever since. It is still currently in use for all iPad models, with the exception of the iPad Pro, which has a USB-C port for charging.

Back in 2009, Apple agreed to transition all of its devices to a ‘common charging port’, which would have been microUSB. However, that agreement never actually came to fruition. That is why some Apple devices prior to 2012 still have 30-pin dock connectors, and modern devices have either Lightning or USB-C (sometimes referred to on Macs as the Thunderbolt ports).

In 2018, the European Union announced that it was planning to make common charging ports in devices a legal requirement. This would mean Apple would be forced to ditch the Lightning port and adopt USB-C instead since the majority of Android devices use the latter.

The EU competition chief said:

“EU regulators plan to study whether there is a need for action in the push for a common mobile phone charger following a lack of progress by phone makers towards this goal…”

“The European Commission has been pushing for a common charger for nearly a decade as it cited the more than 51,000 tons of electronic waste yearly from old chargers as well as the inconvenience to consumers.” “The European Commission has been pushing for a common charger for nearly a decade as it cited the more than 51,000 tons of electronic waste yearly from old chargers as well as the inconvenience to consumers.”

Reuters has reported that the Commission has now planned to put this legislation into motion.

9to5Mac blasted the EU’s proposal by calling the legal framework ‘completely pointless due to the timeframes involved’.

Ben Lovejoy at 9to5Mac explained that:

“Assuming the law is finally passed, and it does adopt USB-C as the standard, it wont come into effect immediately. Manufacturers plan their new products sometimes years in advance, so they will need to be given an appropriate notice period before the law becomes binding. That period will be measured in years.”

“By which time, one of two things will have happened in Cupertino. Either Apple will already have adopted USB-C, just as it did with the iPad Pro, or it will have moved to the position we all expect it to reach eventually: a port-free iPhone which supports only wireless charging. Either way, a European charger standard will be completely irrelevant by the time it comes into effect.’

9to5Mac make a good point in relation to wireless charging – the phenomenon continues to become more advanced and faster, and Apple has signalled its support for wireless charging by introducing MagSafe. Most of Apple’s products which uses the Lightning port, such as the iPhone, AirPods (2nd generation only) and AirPods Pro, all now have wireless charging features. Therefore, as the adoption and convenience of wireless charging increases, this law will only become obselete.

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