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Maybe you want to think again about picking up the new iPhone 14 — the European Parliament today voted to require USB-C as the “common port” for consumer electronics. That means if Apple wants to continue selling iPhones in the European Union in 2024, it’ll have to leave the Lightning port behind.

This is not just about the iPhone, but Apple’s ubiquitous smartphone is probably the most prominent holdout. The new EU directive will cover a wide range of devices beyond smartphones like tablets, cameras, and in 2026, laptops. The vote was heavily lopsided in favor of the change, with 602 votes in favor of the measure and 13 against.

For its part, Apple has always contended that forcing a common port standard would stifle innovation and increase electronic waste as consumers have to toss their lightning cables. The EU, however, believes the time has come to standardize, and this will reduce waste long-term. Come 2024, consumers won’t need to get a separate charging cable for every device — they’ll just be able to use USB-C with everything. Well, almost everything. The directive includes exceptions for devices that are too small to realistically include a USB-C, like fitness trackers and smartwatches.

The European Council will meet soon to approve and publish the directive in the EU Official Journal. It will be locked in 20 days after publication, but the rules won’t kick in for 24 months. That means next year’s iPhone could still have a Lightning port if Apple so desires. In late 2024, Apple and all other manufacturers will have to use the common port.

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The Lightning port was a big step up from Apple’s old 30-pin connector, but it’s fallen behind now that USB-C is mature.

Apple adopted the Lightning port in 2012, shortly before USB-C became popular. Lightning was a major upgrade over the 30-pin connector Apple used on phones and iPods back then. It was reversible, smaller, and supported faster charging. However, USB-C has since surpassed Lightning and works on many more devices. Even Apple has realized that — it was one of the first to start using USB-C on laptops, and you certainly don’t see any Lightning ports on the MacBook.

There are still some inexpensive consumer electronics with older port standards, but all of Apple’s main competitors have switched. You’d be hard-pressed to find an Android phone still on sale that doesn’t feature USB-C. Flagship phones began switching almost a decade ago, and even budget phones have adopted USB-C in the last several years.

The European Union last tried to enforce USB-C as the common standard in 2018, but the measure was dropped. A refreshed rule was drafted in 2021, which led to the new directive. Apple is reportedly already testing a USB-C version of the iPhone, and some analysts have predicted the company will move to USB-C as soon as 2023, leaving plenty of time on the clock.

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