Apple customers could start using a USB-C connector to charge future iPhone models. The smartphone manufacturer is testing a USB-C connector that could replace the current lightning charging port in future iPhones. The move is in line with impending European regulations seeking to force all manufacturers adopt USB-C charging ports for all devices
According to Bloomberg, Apple is also reportedly working on an adapter that will enable future iPhone models work with accessories designed for the current lightening connector. USB-C chargers are slightly larger than Lightning chargers, and can also provide faster charging and data transfer speeds. Many existing chargers for non-Apple devices, such as Android phones and tablets, would be compatible with the new connectors.
The move could also help the company streamline its collection of charging requirements for its devices. Currently, Apple’s iPads and Macs use the USB-C connector while the iPhones rely on the lightning port. The power bricks for wireless chargers for the iPhone and Apple Watch both use a USB-C connector. That means that despite Apple’s penchant for simplicity, cutomers are unable to use a single charger for multiple devices.
Since 2020, Apple shifted from including chargers in their iPhone package, instead promoting its MagSafe wireless charging system, which still use lightning. However, a wireless connection takes longer to charge a phone’s battery and to sync data with other devices. It’s also not practical in all circumstances, such as with some automobiles.
Apart from the MagSafe battery pack and the MagSafe Duo charger, Apple accessories including AirPods and the Apple TV remote still use lightning. Third-party accessories, such as chargers, car adapters and external microphones, also use the existing connector.
In April, the European Union approved a requirement for a single charging port by a wide majority.
“Mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld video-game consoles and portable speakers, rechargeable via a wired cable, would have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of the manufacturer,” the legislation said.
Apple however said that the legislation would hurt its innovation.
“We are concerned that regulation mandating just one type of connector for all devices on the market will harm European consumers by slowing down the introduction of beneficial innovations in charging standards, including those related to safety and energy efficiency,” the company said last year.
The rule would also take away Apple’s control in the development of its accessories. The company requires accessory makers to pay to use the lightning port and also employs a strict approval process.
If the European law fails to materialize, it’s uncertain whether Apple will abandon the USB-C shift. For the sake of simplicity, many consumers have been asking for the shift.
Apple, based in Cupertino, California, declined to comment on the change.