In September 2021 Patently Apple reported that the EU Commission decided to enforce the use of USB-C connectors on all digital devices and chargers and so It's not surprising to learn today that Apple is testing USB-C connector for next-gen iPhones, iPads and more starting in 2023 at the earliest.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports that "Apple Inc. is testing future iPhone models that replace the current Lightning charging port with the more prevalent USB-C connector, according to people with knowledge of the situation, a move that could help the company conform with looming European regulations.
In addition to testing models with a USB-C port in recent months, Apple is working on an adapter that would let future iPhones work with accessories designed for the current Lightning connector, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
If the company proceeds with the change, it wouldn’t occur until 2023 at the earliest. Apple is planning to retain the Lightning connector for this year’s new models.
Apple has said the European law would hurt its ability to innovate. More specifically, Apple stated that "We are concerned that regulation mandating just one type of connector for all devices on the market will harm European consumers by slowing down the introduction of beneficial innovations in charging standards, including those related to safety and energy efficiency." For more on this, read the full Bloomberg report.
While making the switch to USB-C would be effortless for Apple, they won't voluntarily adopt this standard for mobile devices and accessories unless it becomes law in Europe. Having a backup plan for this possible switch however, was never really in doubt.