This year could be the end of Apple’s Lightning connector as we know. The European Parliament voted in support to have a single common charger for all mobile phones. It is a move aimed at reducing electronic waste that ends up as a result of having different chargers for different devices.
The resolution to have a common charger for all phones was passed with 582 votes in support, 40 against the resolution, and 37 abstainments. However, Apple does not appear to give up its fight to keep the Lightning port around for a longer time as it argues that by making the Lightning connector obsolete, the amount of electronic waste will increase further as the Lightning based accessories will be left unusable.
Apple may not back down anytime soon
“More than 1 billion Apple devices have shipped using a Lightning connector in addition to an entire ecosystem of accessory and device manufacturers who use Lightning,” said Apple in a statement last week. Similarly in 2010, the European Union had passed a resolution to make micro-USB standard but Apple was for reasons allowed to continue the use of the 30-pin connector.
It’s not that Apple never made a major shift in the use of a connector. In 2012, Apple made the 30-pin connector and its accessories obsolete by releasing the smaller and reversible Lightning port.
Of course, the Lightning connector gives Apple an upper hand by limiting the ways in which the iPhone can be connected to computers, in some ways, reducing the chances of being hacked. Also, Apple makes money when Lightning accessory makers sell their units as they have a royalty fee to Apple.
Apple already uses the newer and faster USB-C across its other range of devices. The MacBook Pro moved to completely using USB-C in 2016 and the MacBook Air moved to USB-C in 2018 along with the iPad Pro. However, it was the 2015 12” MacBook which first introduced USB-C in an Apple device.
Will Apple ditch the Lightning port in favour of USB-C with its next major iPhone release?