iPhone 15 with USB-C is almost certainly coming – here’s why

We’ve heard all the rumors that the iPhone 15 might be the first Apple phone to get USB-C, but now it looks like Apple won’t have much choice. EU officially passed a law (opens in a new tab) this makes USB-C the universal charging standard from 2024, so Apple needs to play ball or else stop selling iPhones in the region.

The European Union has been talking about mandating USB-C for some time, but only recently managed to end these threats. The first proposals to legislate the universal charging standard launched over a year agoand have crossed everything the necessary steps in the months that followed.

The final hurdle, which involved member states voting on the legislation, was passed on Monday, October 24. All that remains are the rules to be signed by the Presidents of the European Parliament and the European Council. These are, however, considered formalities and the new rules are, for all intents and purposes, final.

The law primarily targets smartphones and laptops, but also includes other smaller electronic devices. The aim is to try to minimize e-waste and avoid a situation where different devices all have their own chargers – a problem faced by anyone with a mobile phone in the 90s and 2000s.

The vast majority of smartphones these days come with USB-C charging. This is because the EU pushed microUSB as a standard in 2009, which eventually evolved into USB-C after the standard was developed. Apple is the only major company to maintain a maverick stance.

Rules granted in the EU only affect the EU and theoretically have no impact on products sold in other regions. The odds of Apple developing two different phone models in tandem, one with USB-C and one without, are pretty slim. Likewise, Apple is unlikely to sell iPhones in Europe.

There had been speculation that a portless iPhone could bend the rules, as there would be no non-USB-C port on the device. MagSafe is also a Qi wireless charger, which is the same standard used by the rest of the tech industry. The magnets only work with newer iPhones, but the pad itself can still wirelessly charge non-Apple phones and devices.

However, it’s unclear when a portless iPhone will appear, assuming it’s even in active development right now.

According to the legislation, “small electronic devices” that will hit the market at the end of 2024 must have USB-C charging. If Apple does launch the iPhone 15 with USB-C, as rumors claim, it should beat that deadline by an entire year. If that’s not the plan, then Apple will have to line up with the launch of the iPhone 16.

Larger electronic devices, including laptops, won’t need to comply with the rules until late 2026. That shouldn’t be a problem for Apple now that the 2022 iPad has ditched lightning for USB- C – meaning all the latest MacBooks and iPads have some form of USB-C charging capability.

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