People look at Apple products as Apple Inc's new iPhone 14 models go on sale in Beijing
Apple could introduce a slew of changes to its iPhones to comply with the EU law Reuters

Apple could be bringing a myriad of notable changes to its future iPhones, which are likely to feature USB-C ports instead of lightning ports. Apple unveiled the iPhone 14 series at the Far Out 2022 event and just months later, the rumour mill began churning out speculations surrounding the next-gen iPhone models. Also, the iPhone 15 series has been subject to all sorts of leaks lately.

The word on the street is that Apple will launch the iPhone 15 lineup in the second half of 2023. However, the American tech giant is still mum on its plan to launch the next iPhones anytime soon. Also, official details about the price tags of the much-awaited iPhone 14 series successors are few and far between. Notably, Apple was the world's most profitable company last year with a net income of just under $100 billion (about £81,268,900).

The company's success can also be attributed to its closed ecosystem. Apple's proprietary lightning cable reportedly helps the company save a few bucks. A report by Macword, citing reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, suggests an Apple-branded 20W USB-C charger for the iPhone 15 could be in the offing this year. On the downside, providing a power adapter in the box could raise the asking price of the phone and the manufacturing cost for Apple. So, it is safe to assume that Apple will not be giving charging kits to iPhone 15 buyers.

Moreover, developers have to pay Apple a 30 per cent fee for apps since the company doesn't support third-party payment methods. Much to Apple's chagrin, the EU is sparing no effort to change that.

USB-C port on iPhone 15 series

The European Commission wants Apple to equip iPhones launched in 2024 and onwards with a more commonly used USB-C port. However, an earlier report suggests Apple could use the (MFi) Made for iPhone certification process to break EU rules. According to the report, Apple will use the MFi certification process on USB-C accessories. This will allow the company to introduce a tiered system for cables and accessories.

Last year, the executive arm of the EU, the European Commission announced brands will have to adopt a more common charging/data transfer standard. Switching to a USB-C port would minimise e-waste by allowing consumers to reuse their old charging cables. The rules apply to gaming consoles, cameras, audio accessories, tablets, and a slew of other devices.

As a result, Apple will have to use USB-C for its devices slated to launch in 2024. However, leaked iPhone 15 renders show that the company has already ditched its Lightning port in favour of a USB-C port. Apple is expected to unveil the standard iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max (aka iPhone 15 Ultra) later this year. February's iOS 16.4 developer build also had references to a purported USB-C AirPods Pro 3.

Third-party app stores on iOS 17

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman predicted last year that Apple will allow outside app stores (aka sideloading) as part of an overhaul to comply with EU laws. Furthermore, the reliable journalist claimed "services employees and software engineering" are already working on opening up the company's platforms.

If this speculation turns out to be true, consumers will be able to download third-party apps on iPhones and iPads without heading to the App Store. In other words, they will be able to bypass the company's restrictions and avoid the 30 per cent cuts it takes on third-party payments. It is unclear how this change will impact Apple's revenue. This overhaul could destroy Apple's plan for revenue growth on services including the App Store.

Unique browsers

It is compulsory for all third-party browsers on the App Store to use WebKit. It is worth noting that WebKit is an Apple-developed browser engine that is used in the Safari web browser. According to the European Commission, this approach is anti-competitive. So, it is pressuring the Cupertino-based tech firm to revoke this requirement. This will also allow other companies to make browsers for iPhone and iPad that are likely to be faster than Safari.

Moreover, browsers will be able to offer unique features that are exclusive to other web engines such as Chromium. Using WebKit also restricts the capacity of web apps, but all this can change if Apple decides to comply.

iMessage interoperability

The EU law may also force Apple to open up its iMessage. The new rules could allow WhatsApp, Messenger, and other Meta apps to request to interoperate with Apple's proprietary instant messaging service. Apple seems to have no choice but to oblige. Only Apple users have access to iMessage. So, Android device users have to rely on SMS to communicate with Apple users.

Also, messages from Android device users have been assigned different coloured chat bubbles. Notably, iMessage has blue chat bubbles, while SMS has green chat bubbles. This is Apple's attempt to separate iMessage users from Android users. Now, Apple could adopt the RCS standard to comply with EU law.

Some engineers believe if Apple gives in to the EU legislation, the change could impact iMessage's privacy features and end-to-end encryption. With the EU planning to fine "as much as 20 percent of a company's annual global revenue" if they persistently violate the law, Apple will have to find a way to oblige.

Other expected changes

Apple is reportedly planning to bring Dynamic Island to all iPhone 15 models. Moreover, the Pro models could come in a titanium frame. For comparison, the current-gen iPhone 14 Pro series has a stainless steel body. Tech blogger Tech Meow shared live images of the iPhone 15 series' glass panels on Weibo earlier this month.

The leaked images corroborate past leaks that imply the entire iPhone 15 series will get Dynamic Island. Recently leaked iPhone 15 Pro CAD renders shows the mute button and the volume rocker in front and center. Likewise, a report by 9To5Mac indicates the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max have just a single button for volume.