- The European Union requires a unified charging interface. Apple will be the biggest victim. In terms of accessory sales and MFi authorization and certification fees, the annual loss may exceed 10 billion yuan.
- In a Weibo survey, nearly 90% of netizens agreed, believing that a unified standard is a good thing; only 7% of netizens disapproved and thought it should be decided by the market.
- In the domestic market, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is also promoting this matter, and will jointly promote the formulation of relevant national standards with the State Administration for Market Regulation, and the domestic unified charging interface may not be far away.
Recently, a new regulation by the European Union to unify the charging interface has put Apple on the cusp. On October 4, the European Parliament overwhelmingly supported mandating USB-C as a universal charging port for a variety of consumer electronic devices, including iPhones and AirPods, by the end of 2024.
Unlike other Android phone manufacturers that almost all use USB Type-C charging ports, Apple has insisted on equipping iPhones with a dedicated Lightning port for many years, and has always been an opponent of a unified charging port.
Slow charging and incompatibility with other devices, the Lightning interface not only brings inconvenience to users, but also generates more electronic waste, which runs counter to the environmental protection concept advocated by Apple.
Many experts pointed out that high accessories and MFi certification fees have brought a lot of profits to Apple, which is the fundamental reason why Apple is reluctant to unify the charging interface. If Apple eventually follows the new EU rules, the annual loss could exceed 10 billion yuan.
Apple crying? Tens of billions of profits are lost every year
The Lightning interface was born in 2012, and it can work normally with both positive and negative plugs. At that time, the introduction of this interface was undoubtedly a big improvement. However, ten years later, with the rapid advancement of data transmission technology, Apple is still insisting on using this interface.
At present, almost all mainstream Android phone manufacturers, including Samsung, Huawei, OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi, etc., have adopted the USB Type-C charging interface, and Apple has become a maverick existence.
Luo You, a researcher at the Star Map Financial Research Institute, believes that Apple has always been an opponent of a unified charging interface, and there are complex reasons behind it.
The reason given by Apple is that, first, forcing the industry to adopt the same charging specification through administrative orders will hinder innovation, and it should let the market choose which charging interface to use. Multiple charging specifications and protocols may develop more in the future. , more advanced charging equipment; the second is environmental protection, the existing Lighting accessories are not compatible with general standards, and currently there are a large number of peripheral devices in the music field such as musical instrument tuning peripherals, DJ peripherals, etc. As well as old Apple stock devices, once the new charging interface is switched, these devices are bound to be abandoned, and the old charging devices will also face elimination, causing harm to the environment; other reasons may include that the Type-C interface is larger than Lighting. , For consumer electronics where land is expensive, it will take up internal space, and the mold also needs to be replaced, which is not worth the loss.
However, more importantly, this industry chain alone has brought huge benefits to Apple. By charging MFi (Made For iOS) authorization and certification fees, the annual profit may exceed 10 billion yuan, so Apple does not would give up such a huge cake, which is probably the most important and deeper reason.
The new EU regulations this time will force Apple to abandon the Lighting interface and use the more general Type-C interface, which will make Apple lose a high source of licensing profits.
Tony Fadell, former Apple vice president and father of the iPod, expressed his support for the new EU rules on social platforms, saying it was not a problem for Apple and it was long overdue. He further pointed out that there is no technical reason for Apple to refuse, unless they continue to stand in the position of a monopoly and hinder continuous innovation.
In addition to affecting Apple’s profits, manufacturers of Apple accessories will also be hit.
Luo You believes that if Apple finally follows the bill, it means that hundreds of millions of Apple devices and manufacturers will be affected, but it may not be a negative impact. On the one hand, Apple accessory manufacturers do not need to submit certification fees and go through a long certification period. On the other hand, the manufacturing process of the USB-C interface is extremely mature, and the transformation may not take long, and there may be no pain period.
Yuan Bo, a senior communications engineer and strategic planning expert, believes that this is a mixed blessing for companies that produce Apple accessories. The good news is that Apple accessories do not need to pay high authorization and certification fees, and the reduction in production costs will also make Apple accessories market. More prosperous; but the worry is that due to the uniqueness of the Lighting interface, Apple accessories have always been more profitable. If all Apple mobile phones use Type-C in the future, it will virtually reduce the manufacturing threshold of Apple accessories, and traditional Apple accessories companies will be affected. There is a certain impact.