When the European Parliament voted in favor of making USB-C the common charging standard in the region, it was pretty obvious which company was going to be the most affected by the mandate. Apple, of course. While the tech giant already has iPad models with USB-C ports, its iPhones still require a lightning connector. Now, in an interview at Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live event, Apple’s SVP of worldwide marketing Greg Joswiak has confirmed that the tech giant will be transitioning to USB-C connectors to comply with the EU’s regulation.
“Obviously, we’ll have to comply.” Joswiak responded when asked by WSJ’s Senior Personal Technology Columnist, Joanna Stern, whether Apple is moving to USB-C. But not before talking about the company’s history with regulation compliance, such as making its phones compatible with hearing aids and how it had to come up with its own solution because existing technology at the time didn’t work.
Joswiak also talked about how the EU has been pushing for the adoption of micro-USB 10 years ago. Since part of the EU’s concern was that people had to have several adapters with different connectors, Apple made cables detachable so that people can easily switch them out. The executive said the move allowed over a billion people to continue using their lightning cables instead of throwing them out and giving rise to a “bunch of e-waste.”
“We have no choice as we do around the world but to comply to local laws,” Joswiak said. However, he didn’t say whether Apple is only making a different variant for the European market while continuing to sell phones with lightning connectors elsewhere. He also said that Apple thinks the approach would have been better environmentally and better for its customers to “not have a government be that prescriptive.”
Apple also previously cited environmental concerns for not selling power adapters with new devices. The tech giant said that doing so will save 861,000 tons of metal and will also save fuel, since more iPhones can fit in shipping containers. Not everyone was convinced with the company’s explanation, though, and Apple has gotten fined several times in Brazil for removing adapters from iPhone packages.
Under the new EU mandate, Apple will have to ship iPhones and iPads with USB-C ports in the region by the end of 2024.
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