The European Union will require all mobile phones, tablets, and other electronic devices to have a USB-C charging port by the end of 2024, meaning Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad will have to ditch the company’s proprietary Lightning port.
European policymakers have been keen for a single standard for more than a decade, citing significant amounts of electronic waste caused by unused chargers and the inconvenience suffered by Android and iPhone users who need different cables for different devices.
It decided to legislate after becoming frustrated at a lack of progress by the industry to find a compromise.
One charger to rule them all
The new rules cover e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers, while laptops will have to be adapted within 40 months of the rules coming into force. Wireless charging is not covered but could be added at a later date.
The new rules will also offer consumers a choice of whether they want a charger when buying a new device. The EU says its new regulations will encourage the re-use of charging equipment, saving consumers €250 million a year, and preventing 11,000 tonnes of electronic waste.
“Today we have made the common charger a reality in Europe,” declared Alex Agius Saliba, European parliament rapporteur on the issue. European consumers were frustrated long with multiple chargers piling up with every new device. Now they will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics.”
The use of USB-C will disproportionately affect Apple, which will either have to create a special edition of its products for Europe, or would be forced to change the design for all markets around the world. Apple has persistently opposed any mandate, arguing that it would lead to a huge amount of electronic waste as consumers dispose of their old Lightning chargers.
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