Saudi Arabia makes USB-C mandatory for electronic devices ahead of iPhone 15


iPhone 15 is coming next month, and multiple rumors suggest Apple will finally switch from its proprietary Lightning connector to USB-C. While this has a lot of advantages, Apple is likely getting ahead of a new European Union law that makes USB-C mandatory for smartphones. And now Saudi Arabia is doing the same by forcing device makers to embrace the USB-C connector.

Devices sold in Saudi Arabia must have USB-C

As reported by Khaleej Times (via GSMArena), Saudi Arabia’s local regulator has determined that USB-C will become the standard connector for electronic devices. The first stage is set to begin on January 1, 2025, when new smartphones and accessories like headphones, keyboards, speakers, and routers sold in the country will be required to have USB-C.

In the second stage, which begins on April 1, 2026, every laptop or any other portable computers (which includes tablets like the iPad) will also be required to have a USB-C connector.

The local regulator argues that the decision was made to “improve user experience and reduce costs,” as USB-C allows for faster data transfer speeds and also helps reduce electronic waste as the idea is to let users have a single cable for all their devices. In the European Union, a similar law will take effect on December 28, 2024.

Other countries have also been considering making USB-C mandatory. Last year, Brazilian regulatory agency Anatel proposed requiring smartphone manufacturers to replace any other connectors with USB-C. The US Commerce Department is also considering adopting a similar policy in the future, although no decision has been made yet.

Apple is the main target of such laws

iPhone Lightning

Although laws like this are aimed at all device makers, Apple is certainly the company that will be most affected. That’s because the iPhone and accessories like AirPods and Magic Mouse still rely on Lightning, a proprietary connector introduced by the company in 2012.

Apple began transitioning to USB-C in 2015 with the 12-inch MacBook, and since then has been slowly bringing the connector to more devices. Currently, the entire Mac and iPad lineup has USB-C, as do Beats headphones. The iPhone 15 models are expected to be the first to have USB-C instead of Lightning, which will help Apple comply with laws requiring the new connector.

At first, some people believed that Apple could create specific iPhone models with USB-C for Europe, but that now seems highly unlikely as more countries have been requiring such a connector. And as the iPhone will get USB-C, accessories like AirPods should also get updated with the new port in the near future.

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