Apple could cash in on USB-C obligation

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The EU’s USB-C obligation is intended to reduce electronic waste. However, Apple could use the changeover to the new connector in the iPhone 15 to sell tens of millions of new chargers.

Starting in 2024, all smartphones sold in the EU must have a USB-C port to avoid electronic waste caused by different chargers. In principle, the measure comes too late because, as Stiftung Warentest found, around 95 percent of smartphones have a USB-C jack. Only Apple, which relies on a Lightning port for iPhones, is still cooking its soup.

But the iPhone 15 will end the outdated connector, and all models will have USB-C inputs. However, this does not necessarily mean less electronic waste. On the contrary: the accurate Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects the company to sell tens of millions of new – and expensive – power adapters with a well-known trick.

Increase of 30 to 40 percent
Kuo is accurate with his predictions; he has excellent contacts with suppliers and meticulously analyzes supply chains. His latest survey found that Apple had increased its overall forecast for 20-watt USB-C power supplies sales by 120 percent for the first and second quarters of 2023, he writes. He said the company ordered 70 million units for the fourth quarter. Kuo expects an increase of 30 to 40 percent to 230 to 240 million units yearly.

That’s partly because Apple already sells iPhones and other devices without a power adapter. And USB-C only means the connection to the 20-watt charger – the other end of the cable can also be a Lightning connector. The change to USB-C only means that you need a different line. Even though many users believe it, you do not need the manufacturer’s power adapter with the USB standard. You can use any USB charger.

Fast charging only with a certified power supply?
Unless you need a minimum power or a fast charging function because this is often manufacturer-specific, the EU also puts an end to this. Because new devices must also support the USB Power Delivery (USB PD) standard, with which up to 240 watts of power are possible.

He writes that Kuo believes Apple will optimize the fast charging performance of certified chargers for the iPhone 15. And the company’s 20-watt power adapter for 25 euros is the most affordable option, he adds. If the iPhone 15 series supports USB PD, third-party providers should be able to undercut that easily. Unless certified cables are a must for “unlocking” the fast charging feature, as expected by leaker ShrimpApplePro, for example.

Kuo also expects users to buy more than one power adapter for multiple charging stations. He is probably right about that; many smartphone owners already use different chargers at home and at work.

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