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  • Kyle Chua

Apple Could Shift iPhones, AirPods to USB-C by 2023

Apple’s line of products, including the iPhone and the AirPods, could soon abandon the proprietary Lightning port in favour of the more universally used USB-C.

iPhone SE. Credit: Apple

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the Cupertino company is already in the process of testing new iPhones and adapters with the USB-C standard, which is what virtually all Android devices use now. Renowned Apple analyst Ming Chi Kuo corroborated this claim, adding that AirPods and mouse and keyboard peripherals will also adopt the charging port "in the foreseeable future".

There's long been talks about Apple finally ditching the Lightning Port and making the switch to USB-C, but as far as the iPhone is concerned, nothing has materialised yet. Some MacBook and iPad models already use the connector standard, so the change won't be entirely new for the company.

In 2020, the European Commission proposed to impose regulations on smartphone manufacturers, forcing them to standardise their products' chargers. The goal of which is to have one universal charger that works with all devices regardless of brand. This would then in turn lessen electronic waste, which is harmful for the environment.

The iPhone maker, however, was a little resistant to shift, noting how standardising chargers could stifle innovation. The company also said that changing charging standards would force hundreds of millions of its customers to buy new chargers, resulting in more waste instead of less of them.

"Legislation would have a direct negative impact by disrupting the hundreds of millions of active devices and accessories used by our European customers and even more Apple customers worldwide, creating an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and greatly inconveniencing users," said Apple in response to EU's plans.

But if the reports are true, Apple seems to be reconsidering its stance, with it now moving ahead in the development of USB-C iPhones. The company is likely being forced to conform in order to continue to sell in Europe, a large and important market, in case the proposal is indeed enacted. The report said Apple is also working on a Lightning-to-USB-C adapter that can help make older iPhone models and accessories cross-compatible with new releases.

Bloomberg notes that if Apple were to commit to the change for its iPhones, the earliest a USB-C iPhone might release is 2023. Kuo predicts that USB-C accessories like AirPods could launch alongside it, though that has not been confirmed.

  • Apple’s is reportedly in the process of testing new iPhones and adapters, along with accessories like AirPods, with the USB-C standard, seemingly hinting that the company is ready to abandon its proprietary Lightning port.

  • However, if Apple were to commit to the change for its iPhones, the earliest a USB-C iPhone could launch is 2023.

  • The company was previously against the European Commission's proposal to standardise chargers, noting how such a move would stifle innovation, but this news seems to suggest that it has since reconsidered. After all, if the proposal is enacted and the iPhone maker refuses to conform, it could lose access to the European market.

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