The upcoming iPhones, expected to be released in September, may feature a standard charging port, a USB Type-C connector, replacing Apple’s proprietary Lightning port.
This change would eliminate the need for separate cables for iPhone and other devices, allowing users to lend devices to Android owners, borrow chargers for iPhone from anyone with a more recent laptop, and standardize charging rates for schools and businesses.
Apple has not confirmed whether its new iPhones will feature a USB-C charging port, but the transition is inevitable due to the European Union’s new regulation requiring USB-C connections on new smartphones by 2024. The EU estimates that the rule could save Europeans 250 million euros annually on fees, and outmoded chargers account for approximately 11,000 tons of e-waste annually in the region.
Apple, however, opposed the new regulations, stating that the regulation would stifle future charging innovation, force the company to pull devices from the market early, and provide consumers with unnecessary information.
Apple expressed concerns that a regulation mandating a single type of connector for all devices on the market would harm European consumers by delaying the introduction of beneficial innovations in charging standards, including those related to safety and energy efficiency.
Apple’s frequent adjustments to device ports have been criticized for possibly increasing the company’s profits from its premium-priced cables. The most proficient USB-C cable offered by the company costs $39. In 2015, the addition of USB-C chargers to MacBook laptops prompted quips about the dongles required to connect older accessories to newer laptops. The removal of the headphone jack from the iPhone in 2016 prompted controversy regarding the company’s attempt to steer users toward its more costly wireless AirPods.
However, Apple’s strategic emphasis is on ensuring seamless integration of its products, resulting in continued iPhone sales. Apple’s Wearables, Home, and Accessories product line generated $41 billion in 2022, with Apple Watches and headphones accounting for the vast majority of sales. This is significantly less than the $205 billion in iPhone sales that were reported for the entire year.