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Apple could be forced to kill Lightning and adopt USB-C in iPhones

The Lightning port on the new iPhone 13 remains a persistent annoyance considering the rest of the tech world, including the new iPad mini 6, have switched to USB-C. It seems the European Union has had enough of Apple sticking to its proprietary tech.

As reported by the New York Times, the EU has unveiled new legislation that would standardize phone charging ports among phone manufacturers, requiring that all new phones use USB-C from 2024 onward.

This could mean that the 2023 or 2024 iPhone would finally come with a USB-C port, in Europe at least. Granted, it would be silly for Apple to sell USB-C iPhones in Europe and Lightning iPhones everywhere else. So, if this legislation passes, it could effectively kill a proprietary port that was first introduced in 2012.

“Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices. With more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not necessary,” said Thierry Breton, the European commissioner for trade in a press release. “We are putting an end to that. With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics — an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste.”

According to the Times, Apple is not a fan of the proposed legislation. Apple argues that switching to USB-C would effectively create more waste. “We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world,” an Apple spokesperson told TechRadar.

But that argument seemingly ignores the fact that USB-C has been standard for years across multiple devices, including many of Apple’s own products. And considering Apple doesn’t include a charger with its phones anymore and that the iPhone 13 line supports 20W charging speeds, lay consumers might go out to buy Apple’s own 20W fast charging brick instead of using one they might already own.

Many consumers look at charge ports as either iPhone or Samsung, not Lightning or USB-C. This EU legislation would essentially unify charging, potentially lessening iPhone vs. Android port confusion.

Apple also contends that regulating one particular technology would stifle innovation. If the EU had mandated such a law back in 2009, the argument goes, that might have prevented both Lightning and USB-C from taking off. Breton dismissed that as a stock response from tech companies any time this type of legislation is proposed.

The proposal must be voted on by the European Parliament and then adopted by device makers, so it could be some time before we see USB-C as the standard. We expect more pushback by Apple in the meantime.

The iPhone 13 (from $799) doesn’t seem very new when you first look at it. But when you start using this flagship, you realize that it delivers a lot more than a smaller notch.

The new iPhone’s display is brighter than its predecessor’s. The battery life is longer. And Apple has improved an already great camera with new sensors and computational photography features that make you feel like a pro (even on a non-Pro phone).

Yes, the A15 Bionic powering the iPhone 13 is once again the fastest chip in the land. But it’s more about what this chip lets you do. This includes Cinematic mode, which adds depth of field to your videos while automatically shifting focus, and Photographic Styles for changing the look of your pics.

More iPhone 13 reviews: Our verdict is in

iPhone 13 Pro Max review: The best new iPhone overall
iPhone 13 Pro review: Stellar cameras in compact design
iPhone 13 mini review: Small phone with big performance

The regular iPhone 13 has some flaws. The charging is still relatively slow compared to some Android phones. And I don’t like that only the iPhone 13 Pro models get a 120Hz display and telephoto zoom. But based on my in-depth iPhone 13 review, this new iPhone is the best phone for the money.

Check out our iPhone 13 mini review if you want all the same features of the iPhone 13 in a smaller design. Want a 120Hz display and telephoto zoom? See our iPhone 13 Pro review. And our iPhone 13 Pro Max review is the place to go if you want the biggest screen.

Honestly, the smaller notch doesn’t make much of a difference in day-to-day use of the iPhone 13. When watching videos in landscape mode side by side at full-screen, I didn’t find either notch that distracting.

I did appreciate the mini notch more when using apps with a white background in portrait orientation, such as Gmail. However, the notch on the iPhone 13 mini swoops down a bit more despite being narrower.

Otherwise, the iPhone 13 offers the same tough CeramicShield display up front, durable glass back and flat edges. And you get the same IP68 water resistance as before. Unfortunately, the iPhone 13 doesn’t offer Touch ID, an upgrade many of us would have appreciated since Face ID doesn’t work well with masks. I didn’t need a sensor in the display like many Android phones now support; a Touch ID sensor embedded in the power button like on the iPad mini 6 would have been fine.

The iPhone 13 comes in five colors, including Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight and (Product) Red. I tested the blue model, which is a fun shade without being too loud. And I continue to appreciate the color-matched aluminum frame Apple includes with its entry-level iPhones.

iPhone 13 review: Display

Brighter display easier to read in direct sunlight
Stellar colors and contrast

Alas, the iPhone 13 doesn’t boast the adaptive 120Hz refresh rate of the iPhone 13 Pro, but it’s still a stellar OLED panel. This Super Retina XDR display is now 28% brighter than the iPhone 12; it’s also rated at 800 nits, compared to 600 nits for last year’s phone.

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