Apple has announced that its statutory warranty period in Europe will be extended to two years, following pressure from the European Union to comply with EU law. This doesn't mean that two years of AppleCare now comes as standard, though — the warranty extension only covers defects that were present when the device was shipped, putting the burden of proof onto the customer that the issue is caused by Apple. There are some regional differences between the terms, as the law varies between EU member countries, and Apple suggests contacting your local consumer centre for details.
The change follows a $1.2 million fine levied against Apple in Italy in December for failing to notify customers of their statutory rights, and selling AppleCare cover which overlaps with the protection that Apple is legally obliged to provide. We've reached out to Apple to confirm that this change covers previously purchased hardware, too, and will update if we hear anything.
Update: Apple has gotten in touch to clarify that the statutory warranty has always been two years, and that the change is purely to make it clearer to customers the protection afforded to them. The terms and conditions remain unchanged, and therefore older purchases are covered.