EU Proposes to Force Apple to Switch iPhone, iPad, and AirPods From Lightning to USB-C

The European Commission presented legislation to Apple that would require it to use a USB C port on all iPhones, iPads and AirPods in Europe (via Reuters).

This directive, also known as a directive, would require all European electronics manufacturers to make sure that all smartphones, tablets and cameras sold in Europe have a USB-C port. This "common port", which would impact Apple, in particular because it uses the Lightning connector rather than USB-C on many its devices, would be a first for the world.

The European Commission attempted to resolve the issue in 2018, but it was not enacted. Apple warned at the time that imposing a common charging port would hamper innovation and cause electronic waste. Consumers were forced to switch to better cables. In 2019, a European Commission impact assessment study found that half of all charging cables used with mobile phones included a USB microB connector, 29% had a USB connector, and 21% had a USB connector. 21 percent also had a Lightning connector.

The new directive is said to have many benefits including environmental benefits, decreased waste, convenience, $293 million annually in savings for users, and other benefits.

The legislation draft also proposes that chargers be sold separately from electronic gadgets. This is a move Apple has already made with its iPhone 12 and Apple Watch Series 6 models. The European Commission plans to update its eco-design regulations in order to ensure interoperability of external power supplies.

Apple shared a statement with Reuters that stated "We remain concerned about strict regulation mandating only one type of connector stifles invention rather than encouraging it." This will in turn harm consumers around the globe, as well as Europe, in a statement. Apple also expressed concern about the proposed two year transition period for USB-C.

Before the directive can become law, it must be approved by the EU Parliament as well as national governments. This is expected to happen in 2022, according to the European Commission. Companies will have two years from that date to switch to USB-C.