The age of the Lightning cable is coming to an end. This week, the European Union passed legislation requiring all phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU to have a USB-C connector. It’s a big step that sounds the death knell for Apple’s proprietary port; most phones sold worldwide charge and connect to accessories using the USB-C standard, but iPhones do not.
The EU legislation was first proposed in September 2021 after the European Parliament said it had spent years trying to get companies to voluntarily agree to rely on one type of connector. USB-C, with its fast charging time and fast data transfer speeds, emerged as the best option for consumers. Also, if all devices in the house use the same charging standard, it reduces waste and increases convenience. Now the move to USB-C across the board has been officially approved. Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of the change, with 602 votes in favor and just 13 against.
One of the biggest companies affected here is Apple. The decision nearly spells the end of the iPhone’s Lightning charger, as it likely wouldn’t be viable for Apple to produce devices with separate ports for different geographic regions on such a large scale.
But it won’t exactly come as a shock to Apple. Last year, an EU move to improve device repairability likely prompted Apple and other companies to establish their own repair programs in the United States. Apple seems to have already prepared for this action, given that it has reportedly been testing iPhones with USB-C chargers.
USB-C requirements are expected to come into force by the end of 2024. From 2026, the requirement will also apply to laptops. Devices that charge wirelessly don’t have to meet a specific standard yet, but most (including iPhones) already support Qi charging.
Here’s this week’s other news from the consumer tech world.
E-bikes under pressure
State Farm Insurance Company is suing Rad Power Bikes after it claims it had to pay out $250,000 to a customer whose e-bike caught fire.
E-bikes have come under increased scrutiny lately due to safety concerns. The rapid growth of the electric micromobility market, coupled with the proliferation of poor quality parts and the fact that frame-mounted batteries are susceptible to damage, has led to an increase in the number of fires originating from the power cells of the bike.
This isn’t the only lawsuit Rad Power Bikes faces over safety issues, either. In 2021, a 12-year-old child died while riding a Rad Power bicycle, although the cause of the fatal accident was not a battery issue or a manufacturing defect. Parents say Rad Power’s marketing caused the child to go too fast on the motorbike, which led to his accident. Both cases have yet to be decided.
Amazon kills the glow
Remember the Amazon Glow? Nope? Well, that probably makes sense. The underperforming video chat device designed for kids was less than a year old, and now it’s gone. As Gizmodo reported, Amazon halted production of the Glow this week.
The Glow looked like a clunkier version of Facebook’s Portal fixed webcam/tablet screen, and could play videos, view e-books and make video calls. But while the Portal is a sleek, picture-frame-sized device, the Glow was a bulky, unattractive block. It was primarily intended for families with children, but turned out to be a device for no one.