Apple may be forced to phase out lightning ports and cables soon

Heads up, iPhone fans: here’s why future iPhones may not have the lightning charging port anymore.

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(Image via BBC)

If your phone has ever run out of battery in a room full of Apple users, then you’re familiar with the struggle. Apple’s lightning connectors, albeit innovative, have consistently irritated users who have had to deal with the duality of charger cables within the world of tech — and it looks like the European Union (EU) is as mad as everyone too.

As first reported by The New York Times, the EU has unveiled new legislation that seeks to standardize USB-C connectors as the universal charging port for all smartphones, tablets, and electronic devices from the year 2024 onward.

According to the EU’s press statement, its decision to pull the plug on Apple’s proprietary lightning ports is a step not only against consumer frustration but also electronic waste, a major issue within an industry that has disposed of an estimated 11,000 tons of chargers, both used and unused, per year.

In addition, the new legislation looks to keep separate the sale of chargers from electronic devices. This means that companies will have to follow in the iPhone 12’s footsteps and likewise leave the cable out of the new smartphone’s box.

“European consumers were frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for EU’s Digital Strategy. “We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger.”

“This is an important win for our consumers and environment and in line with our green and digital ambitions.”

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(Image: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

As long as the EU has pushed for such legislation, Apple also has voiced its dissent over ditching the lightning cable in lieu of USB-C cords, citing that it’s stifling innovation.

Speaking to TechRadar, a spokesperson of Apple said: “”We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.” It also argued that ha EU mandated such a law in 2009, which historically reduced the number of charging options from 30 down to just three, then they would have prevented both lightning and USB-C cables from becoming household choices.

However, Thierry Breton, the EU’s Internal Market Commissioner, clarified that electronics companies would not be explicitly banned from having a non-USB-C; however, they could, instead, install two different charging ports to comply with the rule.

The directive itself is yet to succeed, but once it does, then Apple, and the rest of the tech world, will be given a 24-month transition period until sanctions take effect. 

Are you in favor of phasing out the lightning ports and cables?

Art Daniella Sison

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