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Apple forced to make a design change in Europe, but it may yield opportunity

Ah, yes, because you needed a new reason to get frustrated at your technology. What's going on with USB-C's? PIC: Reuters/John Gress

Apple's days of nearly unparalleled uniqueness abroad appear to be over.


The European Union voted on Tuesday to force manufacturers to standardize on a single charging port for mobile phones, tablets, and cameras. It's the first rule of its kind across the world.


Even though it formally passed today, we had an idea this was coming. In June, European lawmakers proposed the legislation to mixed reviews. Today, it was approved by the EU Parliament, basically putting the stamp on the ruling. It overwhelmingly passed through Parliament with a sizable chunk of the votes supporting the move.


The European Union has long been looked at as a trend-setter in world peace & mitigating crisis, and has served as the economic tell-tale when things start to rally or go south. And when Belgium started to speak up more than ten years ago about the inconvenience in switching between charger types, the EU listened and opened up the discussion.

What's the difference anyway?

To the naked eye, it sure doesn't look like there will be many changes to these chargers. But they do have some slight changes. Here's a great glimpse from LifeWire who broke this all down in a past blog.

Both Apple and USB Implementers Forum (an open non-profit that defines the "standard" of USB products) correctly identified the need to transfer data at a faster speed and with more ease. In 2012, Apple's take on this was Lightning, which served as the "data highway" to transfer most of your iPhone/iPad's data to a computer or central processing unit - of course, while also charging your phone. Apple saw this as the opportunity to define global standards and increase sales of its inter-connected products...example, if you already own an iPhone with a Lightning port, you'll probably buy an iPad that has the same port instead of a Kindle with another port.


USB-C, however, came a few short years after. In 2014, the USB Implementers Forum defined USB-C as the global standard, as they were concerned about simply Apple being in control of the design. Over the past few years, USB-C has taken off drastically across the world, as most tech products at least have the capability for USB-C in some way, shape or form.


Except iPhones.


Hot take of the day: this may actually help Apple

Picture this: you've been wanting a new iPhone. The new one looks shiny, tech-savvy, and quick...but that $900 sticker price just won't cut it. Well lucky for you, since the new one hit the shelves, you rush to the Apple store and buy the second-most-recent model, discounted by hundreds of dollars, and you've got still got a brand-new iPhone in your pocket. It's a true tale as old as time - who wouldn't do it?!


Well now, those days might be over in the EU. If Apple is forced to create a new charging port, there will be no more "old" iPhones getting discounted, and no more gaming the system. So, is Apple in line to get a solid revenue lift with the amount of consumers that have their hands tied? I certainly think so. They've created the stickiness with Apple TV, Watches, iPads, computers, and so much more that unless you are a die-hard Android lover, let's get real: you're sticking with the iPhone. Even though Lighting-based phones would definitely be available on third-party markets, their worth crumbles as consumers physically won't be allowed to use them in their homes. This screams opportunity to me here.


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