Apple Says iPhone Will Switch to USB-C, but Grumbles About It

  • Apple confirmed that iPhones with USB-C charging ports are coming to comply with EU laws.
  • But the company is seemingly unhappy with having to make the switch and said it has no other choice.
  • Currently, the law says all mobile phones and tablets have to have a USB-C port by autumn 2024.

Apple confirmed that an iPhone with a USB-C port is coming to comply with a new European Union law — but it doesn’t seem too happy about it.

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said the company will “obviously” be forced “to comply” with the EU rule, during a conversation with reporter Joanna Stern at The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference.

“We have no choice,” Joswiak said in response to Stern’s question about when USB-C iPhones are coming. He did not say if iPhones and other Apple products sold outside the EU will also have the USB-C port.

The law mandates that “all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU,” have to include a USB-C port by autumn 2024.

Joswiak said he “doesn’t mind accomplish telling us what they want to accomplish,” but that Apple has “pretty smart engineers” to figure out the technical ways to things.

One example, he said, was when the US government made a regulation for mobile phones to satisfy a hearing aid compatibility, which he argued didn’t work.

“We came up with a new way of doing hearing aids made for iPhone, actually made it an industry standard, that actually worked,” Joswiak said.

Apple and the EU have been “in an argument” for over 10 years about the push to USB-C, Joswiak said, acknowledging that he understands the EU wants to “accomplish a good thing” with cutting e-waste. However, he said Apple’s detachable charging cables with USB compatible power adapters make it easy for anyone to use the cable that works with their device.

“Over a billion people” use Apple’s chargers, Joswiak said, adding that making people throw away their Lightning cables is going to make more e-waste. Thrown away and unused chargers make up an estimated 11,000 tons of e-waste each year, the European Parliament said, adding that having the universal USB-C charger could save consumers up to 250 million euros a year from not having to buy different chargers.

“We think the approach would’ve been better environmentally, and better for our customers to not have a government be that prescriptive,” Joswiak said.

Apple did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment ahead of publication.

Apple is one of the top smartphone providers in Europe, holding about 23% of the smartphone market share there. The Verge has previously pointed out that Apple could make iPhones that charge wirelessly which would provide a loophole to the USB-C requirement, but it sounds like Apple is opting for a port — at least for now.

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