The European Union (EU) has made a law that compels Apple and other smartphone makers to restrict their devices to the support of USB-C. This legislation was made as part of the EU’s quest to have a single charging standard for mobile devices across the European Union.
According to the announcement by EU officials, the law, which is aimed at reducing e-waste, as well as eliminating the cluster and excess of cables, is set to take full effect as early as the fall of 2024.
Going by content of the legislation, electronic devices like “mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles, and portable speakers that are rechargeable via a wired cable will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of their manufacture.”
The EU also noted that the measure does not affect wireless charging technologies, however, it empowers consumers with the choice of buying a device without a bundled charger – if they choose.
Although, Apple didn’t immediately respond to new law, the law is going to affect lots of Apple devices. According to an EU Parliament report, during the legislative process, Apple told EU officials that the law being proposed will render up to a billion devices and accessories that use the company’s proprietary Lightning connector useless.
Prior to this time, Apple has been fitting some of its devices with USB-C port and connectors. Some range of devices like the Macs, and some iPads are already made with support for USB-C. The company is reportedly testing iPhone models that swap out the Lightning port, however, the new legislation is bound to hasten the company’s adoption of USB-C for all its devices in the EU, and lead to the disappearance of the company’s Lightning port.
In a 2021 study cited in the EU Parliament report, iPhones with the Lightning connector accounted for 18% of new mobile phone sales in 2019. 44% of new iPhone models sold were made to support USB-C, while 38% use the older USB Micro-B connector.
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The move to have a single charging standard for devices in Europe started more than a decade ago. At a point, EU officials approved industry support for the USB Micro-B standard, however, an agreement among major manufacturers to that effect expired in 2014, and was not replaced.
EU’s announcement came after a trilateral negotiations by the European Commission, Parliament and Council. The charging measure will still have to receive final approval before going into effect.