But Apple’s also guilty of manufacturing an infuriating number of charging cables that work only for its own devices. Lord help you if you’re an iPhone user who loves her Kindle and wears a Garmin watch. That’s three cables you’re packing for a weekend trip. Four if you bring your laptop. It’s been this way for decades, and no one likes it. This week, the European Union took an unusual step to reduce cable clutter and waste by requiring Apple and other smartphone makers to support a single common charging standard for mobile devices as early as the fall of 2024. Apple unveils iOS 16 with revamped lock screen and big changes to iMessage.
This article was originally published in CNN Business’ Nightcap newsletter. Sign up for free here to receive it in your email. To combat the plague of cable clutter, European authorities are channelling their inner Marie Kondo. One huge annoyance may have come to an end. For obvious reasons, you don’t want the government becoming involved in tech product design most of the time. Apple’s products are great because of Jony Ive, a design legend who could never be matched by a bunch of DC bureaucrats.
You may be thinking, Finally! One charging cable for all my stuff!. And I hear you. We’ve all got that shoebox packed with every type of cable ever made (except for the one you need) collecting dust in the closet, and I, too, would like to confidently throw it in the garbage. The environmental damage is done. We’ve all already bought the extra Apple Lightning chargers to ensure we never run out of juice on our iPhones and AirPods because we are a screen-addicted people who can’t stand the sound of our own thoughts. We can neither fall asleep nor wake up without our phones; we don’t know which route to take to work without an app’s guidance; I’ve heard of people who don’t fill every waking moment with a Spotify playlist or podcast in their ear, but I do not know, nor do I care to find out, how they manage it.
Apple unveils iOS 16 with revamped lock screen and big changes to iMessage. Under the legislation, virtually all of your everyday devices that are rechargeable via a wired cable — phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, cameras, portable speakers, etc — will have to be equipped with a port known as USB-C. It’s not a total surprise — Apple’s been preparing for the end of its special Lightning connector for some time. The company already uses the USB-C standard in some Macs and iPads and is reportedly testing iPhone models that swap out the Lightning port. But the law could put a fire under Apple’s designers to shift fully to USB-C and potentially finally kill the Lightning charger for good.
Apple (AAPL) hates the idea (shocker) because it argues it will slow innovation and render about a billion devices obsolete. But they’ve been testing new iPhone models with USB-C ports anyway, and I have no doubt that one of the world’s most valuable companies will be A-OK in figuring out how to wring more money from customers in the meantime.
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