Apple bends to EU rules by adding a USB-C port to the iPhone 15
Image credit: Apple
Apple has presented its latest generation of products, including the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, as well as the company’s first “carbon-neutral” device.
During its ‘Wonderlust’ event, Apple unveiled its four new iPhone and two new Apple Watch models, featuring better cameras, faster processors, a new charging system and a price hike for the higher-end model.
The most significant announcement was Apple’s decision to equip the new iPhone 15 model with a USB-C charging port, in line with EU rules.
EU law mandates that, by the end of 2024, all mobile phones, tablets, cameras and other small- or medium-sized electronic devices sold in the bloc will need to be equipped with a common charging port. The change was made to reduce hassle for consumers and help cut electronic waste by removing the need to buy a new charger each time a device is purchased.
Apple – the only major smartphone maker that did not use USB-C – had historically opposed the rule, stating that it would “stifle innovation” and “harm consumers all around the world”.
Nonetheless, the company has adapted the design of their products to be able to sell them in the European market.
“USB-C has become a universally accepted standard. So we’re bringing USB-C to iPhone 15,” said Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice president of iPhone marketing, at a launch event.
EU commissioner Thierry Breton said the move was “common sense”.
In addition to the charging port, Apple also presented the new features of the iPhone 15 and Apple Watch, despite a lack of “headline-grabbing” updates, according to analysts.
The new base model iPhone was described as having a similar design and materials to the existing iPhone 14, with additional features that were already present in the iPhone 14 Pro such as the faster processor, new camera functions and the ‘Dynamic Island’ feature.
The iPhone 15 has a 6.7-inch display and a larger battery.
“It isn’t a surprise given the maturity of the iPhone and Watch,” said Ben Wood from CCS Insight. “It reflects just how refined the iPhone and Watch devices are and how tough it has become to deliver truly disruptive updates every year.”
The new Apple Watch series was perhaps the most novel one, featuring a more advanced semiconductor.
The company also presented one of the models in this series as its first “carbon-neutral” product. Apple said it achieved this by getting more of its suppliers to switch to clean energy and offsetting the remaining pollution through carbon credits, meaning the company will match customers’ expected electricity use for charging carbon-neutral Apple Watch models with investments in renewable energy projects.
Apple also confirmed it would no longer use leather in any of its accessories such as watch bands and phone cases, and pledged to become carbon neutral as a business by 2030. The company’s latest environmental progress report revealed Apple produced the equivalent of 20.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2022.
Despite the announcement, Apple’s shares were down slightly on Tuesday, failing to reverse a drop last week sparked by reports that the Chinese government had banned officials from using iPhones.
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