The EU is again throwing threats at Apple over Lightning vs. USB-C

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The European Commission presented new legislation that, some say, could force Apple to switch to USB-C on all of its Lightning-powered products. That’s all fine and dandy, but this isn’t the first time the EU has tried to force the issue.

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In August 2018, similar plans were proposed by the EU, and nothing seemed to come from that effort. Then again, in January of 2020, we reported that the European Parliament also would force Apple to use USB-C. Soon after that Apple said, they would push back on the EU, arguing that forcing them to remove Lightning would stifle innovation.

Our last report in August 2021 says that the EU wants to create a new charging standard, which they believe would force Apple to switch their devices to USB-C. Now, the EU has new legislation to try and force Apple’s hand in this battle.

The proposal, known as a directive, would force all consumer electronics manufacturers who sell devices in Europe to ensure that all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers, handheld videogame consoles feature a USB-C port. This “common port” would be a world first and impact Apple in particular since it widely uses the Lightning connector instead of USB-C on many of its devices.

The draft legislation also proposed that chargers should be sold separately from electronic devices, a move that Apple already started with the iPhone 12 and Apple Watch Series 6 models last year. The European Commission is also planning to revise its eco-design regulations to ensure that external power supplies for devices are interoperable.


This has been a several years-long battle waged by the EU, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. I predict that Apple will eventually switch to USB-C but not until they are ready and not under threat from the EU. Only time will tell.

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