Apple has confirmed what we already knew: the iPhone will move from Lightning to USB-C connectors by 2024 to comply with new EU legislation. In an interview at the Wall Street Journal's Tech Live event, Vice president of worldwide marketing Greg Joswiak said that Apple would respect the requirement – but he didn't sound too happy about it. "Obviously, we'll have to comply," he said. "We have no choice."
The EU legislation means that phones sold in Europe must have USB-C by the end of 2024, and while of course not all iPhones are sold in the EU it wouldn't be very sensible or cost-effective for phone firms to have two different kinds of connectors for different markets – despite what some UK politicians might tell you.
It's not just phones. It's pretty much every kind of rechargeable consumer device: tablets, USB keyboards, headphones... you get the idea.
When is the iPhone getting USB-C?
The iPhone 15 is the most likely candidate, though technically they could wait until the iPhone 16. Apple's iPads, MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros have already moved to USB-C, and while products such as the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and AirPods Max still have Lightning ports they're likely to be the last of Apple's headphones and earbuds to do so.
It's possible that Apple might go even further with the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra: one Twitter leaker claims that the connectors in those devices will also be Thunderbolt 4, which delivers incredible data transfer speeds measured in gigabits rather than megabits – ideal for creative pros shooting high-quality video.
USB-C might annoy Apple, but it's clearly a good move for the rest of us: it means less cable confusion, hopefully less e-waste and better transfer speeds too. Although if you're still using wired headphones with your iPhone, your next phone might mean it's time for yet another headphone dongle. I'm sure Apple won't charge over the odds for that.