Is Apple Planning to Phase Out Charging Cables?

Apple's quarrel with the EU over Lightning cables could signify something big

Apple cables
Apple's Lightning cables are under scrutiny from the EU. But might Apple be looking to phase out cables altogether?
Unten44/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / January 31, 2020 1:19 pm

Apple’s Lightning cables are — pardon the metaphor — at the center of a storm of controversy right now. The EU has called for a uniform charging cable standard — which puts a line in the sand between Apple’s proprietary Lightning cables and the USB-C and Micro USB connectors. And while you can certainly buy adapters, the overall effect of charging cable technology can yield a lot of additional cables when you upgrade your phone.

And while Apple might be gearing up to push back against the EU’s regulations, a new report from Fast Company suggests that the tech giant might have another plan in mind.

As Mark Sullivan notes, some of Apple’s rhetoric doesn’t line up — they’ve raised concerns about waste if they were forced to ditch Lightning connectors in favor of USB-C, but they’ve done similar things in the past. Sullivan makes a persuasive case that, for Apple, the future of charging might well be wireless. Sullivan cites recent rumors of a 2021 iPhone that would lack any ports at all.

Sullivan writes that Apple’s pushback against the EU is less a principled defense and more of a stalling tactic.

If there’s reality to this rumor, Apple may now just be trying to slow down the EU’s movement toward a charging standard in order to buy time. The longer it takes for the EU to pass a law, the greater the likelihood Apple will be able to stick with Lightning until it can shift entirely to wireless charging.

Much like Apple’s decision to remove headphone ports from the iPhone, such a move would be likely to spark heated debate among Apple devotees. But it also seems par for the course for Apple, who have embraced bold moves such as this in recent years.

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