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Monday, November 28, 2022

Apple confirms iPhone will get USB-C, but isn’t happy with why

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Apple has given its most direct confirmation yet that a USB-C equipped iPhone is coming now that the European Union requires all phones sold in its member states to use the connector if they have a physical charger. When asked by The Wall Street Journal‘s Joanna Stern if the company were to replace Lighting, Apple marketing chief Greg Joswiak replied, “Obviously we’re going to have to stick to this, we don’t have a choice.”

Stern brought up the law during a conversation with Joswiak and software VP Craig Federighi at the WSJ‘s Tech Live conference, and followed by asking when to expect USB-C on an iPhone. Joswiak replied by saying that “the Europeans are the ones who dictate the timing for European customers.” Currently, the law dictates that “all mobile phones and tablets” must use USB-C by “fall 2024”. Joswiak declined to answer whether the company would add the connector to phones sold outside the EU.

He made it clear that Apple is not happy with the change. Before confirming that the company intends to comply with the law, Joswiak went into detail about how the company would rather go its own way rather than be forced by lawmakers to adopt hardware standards. He cited examples of micro-USB and hearing aid compliance where Apple was forced to meet ill-considered requirements.

He also suggested that brick charging with detachable cables has largely solved the problem of standardization, claiming that switching the iPhone from Lightning to USB-C would create a lot of e-waste. (Personally, I don’t find this argument convincing; I have to replace most of my Lightning cables every few years anyway, at about the same cadence when I buy new phones, because they wear out or chewed by cats.)

Still, it’s telling what wasn’t mentioned: a portless iPhone that relies solely on wireless charging, something that would theoretically be allowed. Joswiak didn’t say the company was weighing its options, or considering ways to get around the need to put USB-C on the iPhone. Instead, we got a resigned, slightly tortuous answer, leading to what seems like an inevitable conclusion: USB-C is the future port for connecting and charging your iPhone.


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