Mandate of the European Union (EU). that most manufacturers use USB-C mobile devices by fall 2024 following the heat of speculation that Apple might just go all wireless in future models for both iPhone and AirPods.
While the guide from committee of the EU Parliament for all mobile electronics manufacturers, the unprecedented requirement is expected to have a direct impact on Apple, which uses their products – including the popular iPhone – the company’s proprietary Lightning connector protocol.
The mandate is clear: “Type-C USB ports must be equipped with mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, headphones, digital cameras, headphones and earphones, handheld video game consoles and portable speakers that are rechargeable via a wired cable, regardless of its manufacturer. ”
This move means that iPhones and AirPods sold in the EU will have to switch to the more ubiquitous USB-C ports and cable connectors by the fall of 2024. The mandate leaves Apple with a number of options, including all wireless.
Forrester Senior Analyst Andrew Cornwall said the EU move leaves at least three pathways for Apple to take.
- Apple may provide a USB-C charging port separate from the Lightning charge and a data port on iPhones and iPads. This is probably the least aesthetic of the options, and Apple is unlikely to choose a two – connector solution for that reason.
- Apple may develop a hybrid port that accepts USB-C (for charge only) or Lightning (for charge and data). While it is possible for Apple to develop a hybrid port, it is unlikely to want to build a new connector.
- Apple could unveil the port and go wireless using the Qi charging standard, which has been the capability in its iPhones since 2017.
“Apple is in the habit of completely removing the charging / lightning port for wireless charging, which is a departure from EU law,” Cornwall said. “Because their wireless charger supports an open standard, they will not violate any delegated acts in the future.
“Apple seems to have expected EU law and is ready to move to Qi standard wireless charging,” Cornwall said. “Data transfer will be wireless only. The Lightning port will disappear from future iPhones just as the headphone jack did. ”
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes, however Apple is already planning for USB-C on the iPhone 15 when it launches in the second half of 2023. So a wireless charging phone would have to be launched in that case. The line-up of the iPhone 14, which is expected in September, is almost certain to continue using the Lightning connector, he tweeted.
The EU directive also allows manufacturers to skip any charger for their devices. That is because, once all the manufacturers have the same charging standard, it would be redundant to send a charger with each product. It is a trait that the European Parliament has called for his statement on the direction.
That will inevitably hurt some buyers – the few who have no chargers will have to pay more, Cornwall said.
“There is an increased risk that warranty repairs may be denied due to ‘bad chargers.’ Some of them may buy shoddy chargers that cause fires, ”he said. “Travelers will have to carry a dongle for a charge until Qi hotels are widely implemented.”
And if Apple’s Lightning port disappears for data transfer, Apple users will lose some privacy, because it’s much harder to intercept wired traffic than something over the air, Cornwall noted. In addition, some iPhones may become more difficult to repair, and it may be impossible to review an iPhone or restore it to its original firmware. Jailbreak a wireless iPhone – this may not work anymore.
On the flip side, it may be easier to waterproof iPhones and remove the port.
“I find EU law a little difficult for consumers,” said Cornwall. “It’s a little favored for device sellers, who no longer have to include a charger with every sale.”
Jack Gold, chief analyst with J. Gold Associates, questioned whether the EU directive would allow Apple to completely remove a port, as the mandate requires vendors to move over to USB-C. In addition, wireless charging still faces many challenges – first and foremost it is less energy efficient.
“Wireless charging has lost a lot – up to 50%,” Gold said. “And you are limited in the amount of power you can push through the wireless charger. So it is very difficult to do fast charging which we all experience in wireless. That’s probably why Apple has not pushed for wireless charging in a big way for their phones. “
So the question is, would users accept slower charging?
“My guess is that Apple will oppose full wireless charging for a long time until they can solve some of these problems. But the physics are against them and it would take some Apple’s users have expectations that they may not be able to accommodate wireless charging as the only option. “
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Could an EU USB-C edict pressure Apple to cut the entire cord?
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