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What just happened? Apple says it will comply with a European law that will force the iPhone to switch from a Lightning port to USB-C. The Cupertino executive didn't say precisely when the change will occur, nor did he confirm that the connector will be included in iPhones sold outside of the EU.
With the EU law mandating all small chargeable electronics come equipped with the USB-C standard by 2024 virtually set in stone, attention has been on the company that will be impacted most: Apple.
The subject was raised by The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern during a talk with Apple marketing lead Greg Joswiak and software VP Craig Federighi at the publication's Tech Live conference in Laguna Beach, California. When asked if Apple would replace the Lightning port in the iPhone, Joswiak said, "obviously, we'll have to comply; we have no choice."
Joswiak was also asked when consumers could expect the switch to take place. "The Europeans are the ones dictating timing for European customers," he said. The law states that all electronic devices sold in the region must have USB-C charging ports by 2024.
Not surprisingly, Joswiak didn't appear too happy about Apple's hand being forced. He noted that European authorities once wanted Apple to adopt Micro-USB, claiming that neither Lightning nor USB-C would have been invented if the switch had occurred.
The Apple exec also said moving from Lightning to USB-C would lead to an excess of e-waste, which is the opposite of what the European Union claims.
Interestingly, Joswiak refused to say if USB-C iPhones would be sold outside the EU. He also suggested charging bricks that use detachable cables address the issue of standardization.
Apple has already moved many of its devices, including iPads and MacBooks, from Lightning to USB-C, and reports of it releasing an iPhone next year that uses the USB-C charging standard go back before the EU law.
Joswiak also talked about the metaverse at the conference, saying it is a "word I'll never use." It comes after market research firm Canalys predicted that most business projects in this virtual realm would shutter by 2025.