The European Parliament has voted to make USB-C the common charging port across most consumer devices, with plans to implement the ruling in 2024.
This new ruling also means fast charging standards must be unified, ending “lock-in” to any manufacturer.
That means every new device sold in the European Union (EU) must use USB-C, starting in 2024. Expect to see the last Lightning port on the iPhone and AirPods at that time.
So what does this mandate for USB-C mean for consumers?
The biggest change for the end user is that you can use one charger for all of your devices.
That’s because every new device “rechargeable via a wired cable, operating with a power delivery of up to 100 Watts, will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port.”
One cable, one charger. Multiple devices. Almost any consumer device, to be exact, from smartphones to digital cameras, headphones, and game consoles.
“By the end of 2024, all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C charging port. From spring 2026, the obligation will extend to laptops,” notes the European Parliament.
The only devices exempt from this rule are those too small to have a USB-C port. Think of individual earbuds or smartwatches.
The EU also wants wireless charging to be interoperable so that you can use the charger from any company on any wireless-charging device.
That will reduce e-waste and stop anti-consumer practices that create lock-in to one particular device ecosystem.
The end of Apple’s Lightning port?
Apple is the biggest smartphone maker to use a port other than USB-C still. That’s changing, as the device maker is reportedly switching its iPads, AirPods, and other devices to USB-C.
With the EU mandating USB-C, will Apple split manufacturing to use the Lightning port in the rest of the world? That’s an option, especially now that they’ve split manufacturing between India and China.
That said, we feel Apple will likely opt for the simplicity of a supply chain that only features USB-C.
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