iPhone 15 could ship with USB-C, even if Apple isn’t forced to switch to this standard yet

The European Union has passed legislation requiring the USB-C standard for charging electronic devices, but Apple may not be legally required to make the transition for at least two years, if not longer. But it looks like Apple has been preparing for this for some time now, and as early as next year with the iPhone 15, we could be getting a range of smartphones and accessories for them, all with USB-C plugs.

The iPhone 15 and accessories that currently use Lightning could adopt USB-C in 2023

Mark Gurman, a Bloomberg editor well-connected to Apple intelligence sources, wrote in his PowerOn newsletter that he expects the transition to begin as early as next year, even though the European law won’t take effect until 2024, and Apple could delay adoption for another two years, according to the grace period. So Apple could only launch the iPhone 17 with USB-C if it wanted to do so.

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However, the first step will be taken next spring, Gurman says. Apple could launch new iMac M2 models and likely the long-awaited Mac Pro with Apple Silicon processors in the first part of the year. So this could be a good time to start dropping Lightning on some of the desktop accessories, such as the Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad. All of these devices charge from the same cable as the iPhone.

Then Apple could follow up with the iPhone 15 in the fall, which could also come with a number of new accessories. We’re talking about both the bundled cable, which would be USB-C on both ends, as well as AirPods earbuds (including the new AirPods Pro 2 model), EarPods wired earbuds, and the rest of the Lightning adapters it sells.

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Apple is already preparing for a “wireless” future

Apple has reportedly started testing USB-C-enabled iPhones as early as this year, with prototypes of the iPhone 14 being made with the plug, but they won’t go into production until 2023 at the earliest.

There’s still the theory that Apple could accelerate plans for launching the phone without physical ports now that it will have to ditch Lightning. EU legislation doesn’t cover devices that don’t charge from a cable, and wireless technology could be adopted by the company as the sole standard for charging. Thus, Apple would still have some control over the accessories market, with Made for iPhone licenses and explicit software compatibility required to use the MagSafe magnetic standard.

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