When Apple stopped providing chargers and headphones with new iPhones, the community was in an uproar, and perhaps rightfully so. We witnessed in real time how the company slowly began to transition away from providing users with value and instead charging them extra for things that used to be free. For example, when the headphone jacks disappeared, everyone wondered what they should be doing about their now useless hardware. We’ve seen the same thing happen with Apple’s charging methods, too. The company used the Lightning cable for ages now, but after new developments in the EU, we may see widespread USB-C usage to reduce tech waste and create a standardized tool for all smartphones to use. Read on to find out more about the story and its developments.
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What Is the New EU Law and Apple USB-C Story About?
The EU has mandated that Apple, and all tech companies for that matter, will have to use USB-C chargers for all smartphones. This move comes about as the EU governing body believes that having different charging systems creates unnecessary tech waste and is an anti-consumer practice. This is great news for those who live in the European Union, but it means absolutely nothing for anyone living in the US.
In response to this news, Apple’s senior VP of worldwide marketing gave a snide remark, stating, “Obviously, we’ll have to comply. We have no choice”. The company’s response to the law is telling, seeing as it allocated a lot of resources to making its products as hard to repair as possible and has gone through multiple lawsuits when it was uncovered that the company throttles speeds and battery power on older iPhone models. For those in the EU, you can expect these USB-C changes to come about by Fall 2024.
What Does That Mean For Consumers?
For consumers, this is great news (if you live in the European Union). This means that if you have one charger for, say, an Android device, you can also use that same cable as a connector for your iPhone. Of course, Apple has been adamant about fighting this decision, as the company would rather charge users exorbitant fees for a separately packaged product. It’s extremely annoying having to store a bunch of different USB-C connectors and cables for different products, so creating a standard means that consumers could just use one for all products. This results in less overall trash and cleaner households. You also won’t have to pay extreme fees for a new charger or cable. Perhaps we can see these changes come over to the US market one day, too.
History of Apple and USB-C
If you remember the very first iterations of the iPhone and iPod, you’ll recall extremely bulky and wide charging cables, as the jack was absolutely huge. Over time, Apple developed the Lightning cable and made it stronger, more efficient, and more portable. All was fine for a while, as the company provided cables in each iPhone box when you buy a new one. People were happy with the free headphones and cable.
Unfortunately, Apple decided to remove the headphone jack (which people mostly got used to) and made it so that you couldn’t use earphones and charge at the same time. The motivation behind that is still relatively unknown, but it seemed as if Apple already had the blueprints to develop AirPods and wireless technology. Then, they started removing the free chargers. This, for many, was the last straw as they felt the company was just trying to extract as much profit as possible instead of considering consumer value.
Now, we have arrived at the landmark EU decision to standardize smartphone charging so that all new models have to use USB-C starting in late 2024.