The law forcing electronics manufacturers to adopt the USB-C standard was adopted by the European Parliament with 602 votes in favour, 13 against and 8 abstentions. Thus, from the end of 2024, all smartphones sold in the European Union will have to be equipped with USB-C ports for charging. For laptops, the deadline is spring 2026.
Apple could release another generation of iPhones with Lightning, despite this law
This law seems to be specifically focused on Apple in the phone market and pretty much the entire PC industry besides Apple on the laptop side. Of course, there will be a few loopholes that certain manufacturers could use to get out of changing ports.
For example, for laptops, only those with charging up to 100W will have to use USB-C. This means that despite the existence of the new USB-C 2.1 standard, with charging speeds of up to 240W, computer manufacturers will be able to skip it in favour of a proprietary solution.
Apple has criticised the law in the past as it said it would stifle innovation in this area, but the EU says it will welcome proposals to change standards in the future. However, devices that adopt such new technologies will have to be approved by the EU.
The term suggests, however, that at least one more generation of iPhones will benefit from Lightning ports going forward. Already, for a few years now, since iPhone cameras have become highly capable, equipped with high quality ProRes and RAW recording capabilities, using Lightning brings a number of drawbacks for Apple users.
But at least we know that in 2024, around the iPhone 16 generation, we’ll almost certainly get an iPhone with USB-C. That is, unless Apple finds a loophole to get around the European law. Currently, the last company devices still using Lightning are phones and basic iPad models. All of the company’s other devices have USB-C ports.