Say Goodbye to Apple's Lightning Port, At Least in Europe

Say Goodbye to Apple's Lightning Port, At Least in Europe

Apple phone users in Europe may be in for a change, as new European Union regulations stipulate that most electronic devices must use a single charging port. The tech giant, known for its incompatible-with-other-devices chargers, will have until the fall of 2024 to comply with these new regulations, passed by the European Parliament with an overwhelming majority.

Is the EU the New Global Tech Trendsetter?

apple's lightning port

While small, this reform of charging ports could signal a trend worldwide and solidify the EU's position as a leader in phone and communications technology. Independent EU institutions earlier agreed on the resolution and formalized it with Tuesday's vote.

The new rules set the USB-C connectors used for Android devices as the standard for all 27 nations in the EU community, forcing Apple to change its charging ports of all i-devices. Laptop manufacturers also must comply with the new universal charging regulations, although manufacturers have until 2026 to adapt.

Will the Changes Be a Boon to Apple Stocks?

Far from being an inconvenience, the changes in charging port requirements could spur a surge in purchases of the signature phones and tablets. Apple users who have been putting off an upgrade or purchasing a new device may soon be forced to get a new one if they wish to continue using iOS devices.

In fact, shares in European semiconductor manufacturing companies rose after Tuesday's vote was announced, including Apple's primary two suppliers, Infineon and STMicro. In addition to laptops and phones, the regulations extend to earbuds, e-readers, and other similar technologies. Tech giants Huawei and Samsung may be impacted by this.

Mobile Devices Must Be Compatible By Autumn 2024

Under this reform, all mobile phones and tablets must be compatible with the USB-C charging ports by the fall of 2024, according to the chief architect of this reform, Alex Agius Saliba. The old chargers won't be outlawed, though, so consumers can continue to use older models. But, with this planned obsolescence, it's likely that many mobile users will make the switch to a new device ahead of the two-year deadline.

The change is anticipated to lead to a gradual phase-out of older models instead of an immediate ban on them. A total of 13 categories will be affected by these changes, although the phase-out is planned to go slowly so as to minimize the impact on the environment. It seems that the EU Parliament is heeding Apple's past warnings that a sudden shift to uniformity of charging ports could result in a plethora of electronics waste and may hamper innovation.

The Change Comes on the Heels of Complaints From Both Android and Apple Users

The change to a universal charger for all mobile devices and laptops is in response to users of both types of devices who must switch to different chargers for their devices or purchase duplicate chargers in order to use two different brands.

It's estimated that changing to a single universal charger will save consumers a total of 250 million Euros (about $247.3 million). Apple is in the process of developing a new iPhone with a USB-C charging port and plans to unveil it next year. And, while the Commission considered regulating wireless charging, nothing is on the horizon thus far, as the EU views the technology as too immature to codify just yet.

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