Apple Might Have to Make its Next iPhone USB-C Compatible


It’s the end of an era: Cupertino-based tech giant Apple is finally going to have to give its proprietary charging cables a rest. Since the introduction of the original iPhone back in 2007, the company has stubbornly stuck to its in-house charging equipment, eschewing the USB standard and making its customers jump through hoops to get replacement chargers.

Starting in 2024, Apple will have to comply with a European Union mandate for its phones to all support the USB-C standard, an industry standard that is employed by dozens of smartphone manufacturers. So, why did it take government intervention to get Apple to play ball?

The Beat of Their Own Drum?

Anyone who has used an Apple product in the past 40 years can tell you that the storied tech company is a bit of an outlier. Where companies like Microsoft, Google, and Samsung have opted for universal protocols and industry standards, Apple has stubbornly used in-house hardware and bespoke software. 

This has been successful for the company in some ways, creating a sizeable fanbase and cementing Apple as the go-to “dark horse” tech company for creative users. However, it’s also drawn criticism from tech activists, many of whom believe Apple purposefully avoids industry standards to overcharge for its in-house versions of existing technologies.

Lightning Chargers

Since the introduction of the iPhone 4, Apple’s phones have used proprietary Lightning Chargers. These are mostly identical to USB-C chargers, though with a slightly slimmer profile and the notable distinction that they only work on Apple’s products. This is frustrating for any users who have plenty of USB-C cables for their other devices and just wish their iPhone would play nice with their drawer full of cables.

However, Apple may yet throw another curveball. Some tech critics speculate that the company might eschew physical ports altogether going forward.

Wireless Only?

One “solution” to the EU’s mandate that some critics have suggested Apple might implement is to simply eliminate physical ports on any future iPhones. The company already did away with the 3.5mm headphone jack, a move that initially frustrated some users but has since become an industry standard.

With the modern lineup of iPhones supporting MagSafe magnetic wireless charging, it’s easy to see a case for Apple’s future phones simply using wireless technology for every connective task. So, you might not have to worry about a Lightning charger in the future, but your iPhone could still have a proprietary charging cable.