EU vote could now force Apple to ditch Lightning for USB-C

The European Union has voted to standardise chargers for mobile devices in a measure that could force Apple to abandon the iPhone’s traditional Lightning solution.

The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to approve prospective new rules, which it believes will reduce electronic waste and prevent the need for consumers to buy new chargers (via Reuters) when changing their phones.

The measure passed by 582-40, with the issue to be passed along to the European Commission to draft a new law that could be adopted as soon as July this year.

Should the law, which lawmakers believe could save 50,000 tonnes of waste a year, come to pass, the current USB-C standard used by a number of Android manufacturers would need to be adopted by all manufacturers.

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Last week, Apple objected to the potential ban on its Lightning port, saying it would cause harm for its loyal European customer base, while pointing out the march to USB-C is already well underway.

The company said: “We believe regulation that forces conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, and would harm consumers in Europe and the economy as a whole. We do not believe there is a case for regulation given the industry is already moving to the use of USB Type-C through a connector or cable assembly.”

Apple already uses USB-C for its iPad Pro and MacBook models, but the company has stayed true to the Lightning port introduced way back in 2012. There has been recent speculation Apple is working on a completely wireless iPhone, but that might be years away.

Of course any incoming EU regulation won’t be binding in the UK for too much longer, but should the bloc decide upon such a course of action. However, Apple would probably make the change worldwide anyway.

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