The iPhone 14 is still expected to use Apple’s Lightning connection, but if the European Union has its way, future iPhones and other goods with proprietary chargers may be forced to give up their proprietary chargers.
The European Union has been working for many years to standardise on USB-C chargers for portable devices in an effort to reduce e-waste and inconvenience for consumers. The “EU Common charger” legislation has been revised to include bigger devices like laptops, tablets, and cameras, rather than only phones, as the initial proposal had originally said.
Due to the time it takes to get legislation passed, you may have heard of this tale before. After years of negotiations, the initial draught of the proposed law was enacted in January of this year. Changes made by the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection will be put up for a second vote in the European Parliament in May before negotiations begin on how the rules will be implemented at the national level in EU countries.
The MEPs also want to see information on charging choices and whether or not a power brick is included displayed on the package of goods. A comparable standard for wireless charging has also been sought of the European Commission (the executive part of the EU government) by 2026, which might affect devices like Apple’s MagSafe charging.
These arguments tend to focus on Apple because of its use of unique charging technologies, such as the Lightning connector, which would have an impact on all European electronics businesses. Apple, as you would assume, isn’t a fan of the EU’s proposals. It claims that the proposal will have a negative impact on the economy and innovation, and it’s likely that Apple’s large Lightning accessory ecosystem is also a role.
Even if EU regulations were to go into effect as currently written, most of the goods that would be affected by them already include USB-C charging. Some significant exclusions are the MacBook Pro’s Thunderbolt 4 ports for charging but only the MagSafe charging connection for the quickest possible charging rates for the MacBook Pro’s 14″ and 16″ models. Although this dual-port technique would not work on a smaller tablet or phone, it would enable Apple to satisfy the criteria while still delivering its own proprietary standard
Similarly, the Lightning connector is used to recharge Apple’s AirPods wireless headphones. Apple may have some leeway to continue using Lightning in certain of its devices if the EU maintains its present stance that smaller things like smartwatches would be exempt from the new standards
Even if USB-C does become the EU’s official charging standard, it will be some years away. In the meanwhile, we may look forwards to the release of the iPhone 14. Early reports said that the iPhone 14 Pro will use USB-C, but the most recent rumour has it that the new Lightning connection would only be used for quicker data transfer on the Pro variants.