The European parliament has voted to introduce a single charging port for mobile phones, tablets and cameras by 2024 in a move that presents difficulties for Apple, whose iPhones use a different power connector.
The vote confirms an earlier agreement among EU institutions and will make USB-C connectors used by Android-based devices the EU standard, forcing Apple to change its charging port for its devices.
Among big providers of electronic devices to European customers, Apple is expected to be among the most affected, but analysts also expect a possible positive impact because it could encourage shoppers to buy the company’s latest gadgets instead of ones without USB-C.
The deal also covers e-readers, earbuds and other technologies, meaning it may also have an impact on Samsung, Huawei and other device makers, analysts said.
Apple has in the past warned that the proposal would hurt innovation and create waste.
Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight, said the vote made it “inevitable” that the iPhone 15, expected in 2023, will have a USB-C port.
“This is a victory for common sense. Although Apple has a huge installed base of lightning cable-powered devices, the ubiquity of USB-C across all consumer electronics products means that harmonising on USB-C makes perfect sense.”
Wood added that he expected Apple to adopt the USB-C port in the UK and globally.
“Irrespective of whether the UK government mandates the move to USB-C or not, UK consumers will get the technology by default. It will make no sense for consumer electronics manufacturers to offer devices with anything else,” he said.
Bloomberg reported in May that Apple was working on an iPhone with a USB-C charging port that could debut next year.
EU lawmakers supported the reform with a large majority, with 602 votes in favour and only 13 against.
The change had been discussed for years and was prompted by complaints from iPhone and Android users about having to switch to different chargers for their devices.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has estimated that the single charger would save about €250m (£218m) for consumers.
Apple declined to comment.