Apple says future iPhones will comply with the EU’s new USB-C law

Apple will change the primary cable port for its future iPhones to comply with the EU’s new USB-C law that requires every new smartphone to work with a common USB-C charging cable by 2024, a company executive said Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the European Parliament voted in favor of the amendment that mandated phone makers to adopt USB-C connectors from 2024.  The new law pushes manufacturers to create a universal charging solution for phones & other small electronic devices. The new agreement forces Tech companies such as Apple to conform with other smartphone makers that have extensively adopted USB-C ports in recent years.

Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, Greg Joswiak, confirmed on Tuesday that the company would comply with the EU’s ruling, but provided no further details.

When discussing the new rules on Tuesday at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Tech Live Conference in Laguna Beach, California, two top-level Apple executives suggested that they are not particularly happy with the new law.

“We have no choice – as we do around the world, Apple will abide by local laws,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing. “We think it would have been better environmentally and better for our customers to not have a government be that prescriptive,” he added.

Initially, Apple believed it had come to a compromise with EU regulators by offering a cord in the box with its iPhones that plugged into USB-C on one end and its proprietary Lightning cable on the other.

Apple introduced the lightning connector nearly ten years ago, and it has since become the primary connector for many devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and AirPods. Apple has recently released iPads with USB-C as the primary connector, including the latest entry-level iPad.

“We arrived at a better solution, which is power adapters with detachable cables.” They are all USB-A or USB-C, and you select the appropriate cable for your device. “That allowed over a billion people to have that (lightning) connector and to use what they already had without being disrupted and causing a lot of e-waste,” Joswiak explained.

The EU is not the only region advocating for a universal mobile phone charger. Democratic senators such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Ed Markey wrote an open letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in June, urging the US to follow the EU’s lead. Brazil and India, for example, are considering a common connector rule.