The European Parliament has called for tougher e-waste rules to be brought in sooner than expected - we could see them tabled by July. Why is that important? Because it calls for the standardisation of connectors across the board and that could mean the end to Apple's proprietary Lightning port connector.
The story so far? First, the European Commission (EC) proposed a legislating for a single connector (USB-C) across all phones sold in the region. This incurred the wrath of Apple who said the move would "create an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and greatly inconvenience users".
But that isn't what the EC says, noting that "around 50 million metric tons of e-waste is generated globally per year, with an average of more than 6 kg per person". And, surprise, surprise that figure is much higher in Europe. We also suppose the EC is reasoning that dumping Lightning cables would be a one-off waste rather than creating ongoing problems.
Now these rules could come in quicker after the latest resolution, which was supported by 582 votes to 10. However, the EU has been calling for a single charger for some years and, to be fair, this pressure has worked because most mobile devices and increasingly laptops and tablets are charged by USB-C and aside from Apple, no manufacturer bothers with proprietary charging standards now.
We wonder whether Apple could get around the problem by including a USB-C to Lightning adapter in the iPhone box. It's a move that would still cost it millions though. It has previously sold adapters for anybody that really wants them.
The ruling also asks the EC to standardise wireless charging, but in reality that has happened anyway thanks to Qi. However, that could also cover other devices such as the Apple Watch that have their own chargers.