In a recent announcement, the European Union (EU) ruled that by 2024, Apple and other cell phone manufacturers must make cell phones to be “…equipped with the USB Type-C receptacle.” This begs the question: is this the end of the lightning port?
Will Apple Switch to USB-C Chargers?
While many headlines claim that Apple has agreed to replace the Lightning Port in favor of the USB-C port, that is not exactly the case. The source for this rumor is a quote from Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Greg Joswiak, while speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference. In this talk, Joswiak stated that the company will “obviously…have to comply” with the EU ruling.
Joswiak says that Apple will comply with the law, but what exactly does the law say? This new EU law does not say that every cell phone must have a USB-C port – it says “…if they are capable to be recharged via wired charging…” then they must have a USB-C port. So, in what situations could a cell phone manufacturer bypass this requirement?
Could the Next iPhone Be Portless?
When the 3.5mm headphone jack was removed from the iPhone 7 in 2017, there were huge complaints from consumers claiming that many audio accessories they currently enjoyed were now worthless; and a world without headphone jacks seemed unthinkable. Today, most flagship cell phones do not have a headphone jack – following Apple’s lead. In fact, the use of a headphone jack may feel archaic to many cell phone users, with the use of wireless headphones having skyrocketed in the past few years. While once unthinkable, recent studies report that iPhone users operating without AirPods are now in the minority.
There have been rumors in the past that Apple is planning to remove the lightning port altogether, and maybe the EU’s new law is just the motivation the company needs to bring it to reality. If Apple’s new iPhone was unable to be charged with a wire and only supported wireless charging, it would not be required to have a USB-C port. It’s possible the next iPhone may very well be portless.
Unfortunately, Apple has not released any definitive statements either way; but one thing is certain – the lightning port is dead.