European Union Could Force Apple to Adopt USB-C for iPhones
We incorrectly guessed a long time ago that Apple would make the jump to USB-C technology for the iPhone. It would make sense, though. It uses it on Macbook products, but its commitment to the proprietary Lightning cable is real, and doesn't seem to be ending any time soon here.
That might change in the European Union, however. The EU is threatening legal action against Apple and other companies that signed an agreement in 2009 to harmonize phone charging ports to reduce costs to consumers, as they'd only need to buy one charging cable and could share with others, and would save obsolete chargers from getting tossed into landfills.
The companies promised to agree by 2011 to a single standard, which was the Micro USB port at the time, according to Reuters. After the agreement expired without any change, Apple switched from its 30-pin charger to the Lightning cable used for iPhone and iPad products today.
— Android Authority (@AndroidAuth) August 7, 2018
The European Commission estimates that more than 51,000 tons of electronics waste comes from old chargers every year. After the inaction by the companies in 2011, the Commission is planning its next steps.
"Given the unsatisfactory progress with this voluntary approach, the Commission will shortly launch an impact assessment study to evaluate costs and benefits of different other options," EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said, according to Reuters.
Now, it's likely that the standard would be the USB-C technology, which is already used by other electronics manufacturers as well as Apple.
As 9to5mac puts it:
While the EU initiative made sense in theory, the time taken by these things was always going to make it a non-starter. The original agreement allowed for a two-year period, and was subsequently extended. In the meantime, of course, technology moves on. If companies had adopted the Micro USB standard in 2014, when the agreement was last renewed, it would have delayed their ability to make a later switch to USB-C.
The EU’s move does seem to be timed without much tech awareness. Almost all companies are voluntarily adopting USB-C, with Apple the lone holdout—for now, at least.
This could be good news for promo. It would allow products to be more widely used by everyone (a benefit for clients) and would create longer brand visibility when consumers don't need to replace chargers every couple of years.
For Apple, it could create a huge headache. At least it probably has the cash to spare.