The European Commission has announced plans to force electronics companies to adopt USB-C as a universal charger on all devices, meaning Apple should abandon its Lightning chargers or add a second port to smartphones.
This move is part of a larger plan to reduce electronic waste “caused by the prevalence of different and incompatible chargers for electronic devices.” The Radio Equipment Directive will mean that devices sold in EU countries will need to include USB-C as a standard “for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and portable video game consoles.”
The directive would also oblige manufacturers to sell devices without bundled chargers, allowing consumers to continue using existing USB-C cables. Fast charging would also become standard, meaning manufacturers couldn’t artificially limit USB-C charging speeds, presumably in hopes of making proprietary chargers more appealing.
The directive itself has yet to pass a vote, but the European Parliament has already voted in favor of the idea of introducing a standardized charger, which means it should be approved. Manufacturers would be given 24 months after the directive was approved to make changes to their devices.
The company most obviously affected by this change would be Apple, which uses USB-C on many of its devices but uses its Lightning chargers on smartphones. Apple has not yet commented on the European Commission’s maneuver.
Of course, the time frame involved means current Apple devices will continue to use Lightning cables, but it’s possible the newly announced iPhone 13 could be one of its latest products to use the proprietary charger.