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(Pocket-lint) - Despite seemingly accepting the rise of USB-C, by using it to charge its latest Macbook models, and indeed the iPad Pro, Apple is still holding onto its proprietary Lightning cable as the primary port for charging it mobile devices. 

That might be set to change, however, as the European Union is set to debate whether or not to impose a common standard of charger on tech companies like Apple for the sake of consumers. 


Apple's already changed the chargers on its phones once, in 2012, when it moved from its old, wider connectors to the much smaller Lightning ports it still uses. However, with the majority of the smartphone industry moving to USB-C as a useful standard for chargers and connection cables, it's out on its own by still using the Lightning port. 


This is a tricky one isn't it?

Change the connector to the much more widely adopted and useful USB-C and you comply with possible EU rulings, but in doing so you also stand to alienate the millions of users you already have that have enjoyed using the same cable for the last 8 years.

The answer of course is to probably ditch the need for the cable altogether and encourage wireless charging, but then what happens if you don't have a wireless charging pad? Do you insist on people buying one or do you put one in the box?

This minefield of questions is probably what Apple is trying to solve right now, hoping that by the time a ruling does come from the EU a transition plan will have been put in place, either to move over to USB-C or to ditch the cable completely.

Although the European Union obviously does not have the power to enforce its rules on a global scale, by definition, if Apple were forced to adopt USB-C for all its devices in Europe we'd expect it to make that change throughout its entire supply chain rather than splitting up its devices into regional variants at great cost. 

One way around the issue could be presented by a plan that Apple has reportedly already been looking at, to ditch charging ports entirely on its lead iPhone in 2021, in favour of wireless charging

That said, the Californian company's public position is that forcing it to change from Lightning connectors would cause disruption for its customers, with more than a billion devices sold with Lightning connectors already. Quite how the change would cause issues for customers exactly is another question, but it's no surprise that Apple isn't keen to willfully sign up for the new system. 

In terms of actual timelines, the EU hasn't set a firm date for the debate, with the act still in the drafting stage according to its own records. That means this is far from an imminent change, though it's likely one for which Apple is nonetheless preparing. 

Writing by Max Freeman-Mills.