Since the EU has mandated that all devices must use USB-C for data and charging connectors by December 27, 2024, Apple will have to phase out the iPhone Lightning connector before then.
The date is the only new element; the EU’s decision has already been made. That implies the iPhone 16 in 2024 won’t need USB-C, but the iPhone 17 in 2025 definitely will.
However, there is a way out: Apple may eliminate all ports from the iPhone 17, powering it only via wireless data transmission and charging. The new EU regulations do not apply to wireless-charging-only devices.
Time is running out
There have been rumblings that the iPhone 15 (or at least the Pro variants of the iPhone 15) will have a USB-C connector. However, at this time it’s safe to say that we’ve heard the same story for many iPhone iterations.
The EU has extended the deadline for laptop producers to April of 2026. To further enhance interoperability, hardware manufacturers will need to provide a consistent charging rate regardless of the charger type.
Of course, this only pertains to the EU, but it wouldn’t make sense for Apple to produce two versions of its goods, one with USB-C and the other without. A USB-C iPhone is certain at this point; the only issue is how long we’ll have to wait.
Path to USB-C
The iPhone’s transition to USB-C has been a long time coming. Since the release of the iPhone 12 in 2020, we have been asking Apple to make this change, and speculations have been circulating for at least as long that it would happen to the company’s flagship phones.
Since Apple has adopted this standard for usage in the ports of its MacBooks and iPads, the company naturally has a firm grasp on the technology. This year, even the most basic iPad models began embracing USB-C, leaving just the iPhones to cling to the older Lightning connector.
Switching makes sense for Apple since there is little need for the company to continue using its own standard. Senior Apple officials have gone on record to acknowledge the company would follow any regulation the European Union establishes.
We doubt Apple will wait until the iPhone 17 to include USB-C, but the iPhone 15 could be a little premature. Perhaps the first iPhone to use USB-C will be the iPhone 16, which is expected to launch in September 2024.
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