But that’s about to change, and the end will come for the Lightning port, as well as new accessories with USB-A and micro-USB ports, which can be found in a variety of devices, from headphones to portable speakers.
The only exception in this whole story are laptops, which have a 40-month delay for adjustment, that is, until the end of 2025.
Globally, the EU directive is good news. Namely, few people want to constantly struggle with different cables and chargers. In addition, the EU directive estimates that switching fully to USB-C will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by around 180ktCO2e, material use by around 2600 tonnes and e-waste by 980 tonnes each year. So, an extremely useful move in every sense. Or?
Despite good intentions, mandatory USB-C ports don’t solve a big problem with the standard because “one cable fits all” doesn’t always work so well in practice. Although USB-C is extremely powerful and flexible as a device connection, unfortunately, the port is not the only factor in making everything work as it should.
Alternate mode standards supported by devices at both ends of the cable are just as important, if not more so. Because even though the device supports USB-C, it doesn’t mean that it will work equally with every USB-C cable. In fact, it is not a guarantee that it will work at all.
For example, USB-C headphones work only if the phone, tablet or laptop supports USB-C audio. The same applies to Ethernet and DisplayPort via USB-C. Even transfer speeds vary as it is possible to use USB 3.2 Gen 1 or Gen 2, USB 4 or Thunderbolt 4. In short, the user needs to know exactly which cable is “the right one” for their device or devices.
What the European Union has taken care of is ensuring universal device charging, but anything beyond that causes and will cause headaches for manufacturers, and it will take some time before true USB-C universality is achieved.