Apple has confirmed that an iPhone with a USB-C connector will launch thanks to a new European Union requirement that most devices, including smartphones, sold in the continent will have standard port.
Greg Joswiak, Apple’s SVP of marketing, told the Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern that “obviously we’re going to have to comply” when asked about general charger directive like adopted by the EU Council earlier this week.
While Apple’s MacBook and iPad now both have USB-C ports, the iPhone still retains Apple’s Lightning connector. Indeed, it is one of the only smartphones on the market that does not have a USB-C port.
“We have no choice around the world to comply with local laws, but we think this approach is better for the environment and better for our customers to not,” says Joswiak. for such a strict government.”
Joswiak delivers remarks on stage with Stern and Apple Software VP Craig Federighi at the WSJ LiveTech conference.
However, he declined to say when Apple will introduce iPhones with USB-C.
“Well, again, Europeans are setting their time for European customers,” he said.
With EU ministers giving final approval to the directive this week, it means a generic USB-C charger will be required for all phones and other smaller devices sold in the EU. from October 2024.
Apple releases new iPhones around September every year, which means they can ship the iPhone 15 with USB-C or port it to the iPhone 16. Alternatively, it may only offer USB-C in Europe or have can create a wireless-only iPhone. charge to the world. Jan Stryjak, VP at Counterpoint told ZDNet recently, that Apple Will make iPhone globally with USB-C . port.
When asked what’s good about the Lightning port, Joswiak said that Lightning is “mainly about charging”.
“Well, it’s a pretty good connector, and over a billion people already have it – have the cables, the things they need, have the speakers work, have all sorts… an ecosystem that works with it. For most iPhone customers, not all, it’s mostly about charging. The charging light is pretty good,” he said.
Apple has been opposed to the idea of a universal charger for mobile devices long before the European Commission proposed it in 2021 as a way to reduce e-waste. It agree with the EU’s environmental goals for a regular USB-C, but argued that it would harm consumers globally and stifle innovation.
“I don’t mind governments telling us what they want to achieve, but normally we have some pretty smart engineers figuring out the best ways to get them done,” Joswiak said. art.
Joswiak cites Apple’s battle with EU over smartphone promotion in 2009 to standardize on microUSB. But that’s different from today’s EU general charger directive, both technically and legally.
At that time, 14 major phone brands, including Apple, signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to standardize on microUSB. All major vendors except Apple have moved to this standard. From a technical point of view, before that, the iPhone’s 30-pin connector and its Lightning successor supported audio and video streaming, while micro-USB only supported data transmission and charging.
“We have been arguing about this for more than 10 years,” says Joswiak. “And over 10 years ago, the push from the EU – look, they mean well, I understand that they wanted to accomplish one good thing – which was microUSB and standardize to microUSB. If we have to standardize microUSB that graph doesn’t “do not exist,” he said, pointing to Stern’s picture of a Lightning connector next to a USB-C connector.