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Mandate in India may require Apple to install USB-C ports on older iPhone models

Just as the EU did with its common charger rule that led Apple to equip the iPhone 15 series with USB-C ports replacing the company’s proprietary Lightning ports, India added a similar rule of its own. But reports indicate that Apple met with the country’s IT Ministry at the end of last month and during the closed-door meeting, Apple requested that some exemptions be added to the new common charger rules in the country. India’s new rule requires that all electronic devices use USB-C for charging by June 2025.

One part of the new rules would force Apple to replace the Lightning port on older iPhone models with a USB-C port and that is the issue that has Apple meeting with India’s IT Ministry. While the EU’s rule change only affected new iPhone models released after the rule takes effect in 2024, Apple decided that instead of having to change things up in the middle of the iPhone 15 release cycle, it would switch to USB-C starting with the release of the 2023 iPhone models last September.

India’s new rules, on the other hand, must be followed for all electronic devices sold in the country regardless of when a specific device was originally released. This would require Apple to change the charging and data transfer ports on older models it sells in India including the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, and the iPhone 13. To Apple, this would be a hardship and would probably raise the prices of these models which would be a problem in a developing country like India (which is still the second-largest market for smartphones globally).

Since the majority of iPhones sold in India are older models (again, due to India being a developing country), the common charger rule in India could hit Apple hard in India. Apple says that if it must make the changes to older iPhone models, the company won’t meet targets for India’s Production-Linked Incentive scheme (PLI). A pet project of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, PLI gives manufacturers financial incentives for increasing production in India and making investments in the country.

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