EU’s Deal on Single Mobile Charging Port Forces Apple to Change Connectors

Apple will have to change the connector on its iPhones sold in Europe by 2024 as EU countries and EU lawmakers on Tuesday agreed to a single mobile charging port for mobile phones, tablets and cameras.

The agreement is a world first and came after companies failed to agree on a common solution. The European Commission had pushed for a single mobile charging port more than a decade ago.

Users of iPhones and Android phones have long complained about having to use different chargers for their devices. The former from Apple is charged from a Lightning cable while Android-based devices are powered using USB Type-C connectors.

Half the chargers sold with mobile phones in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector, while 29 percent had a USB Type-C connector, and 21 percent a Lightning connector, according to a 2019 Commission study.

“The deal we struck this morning will bring around EUR 250 million (roughly Rs. 2,075 crore) of savings to consumers,” EU industry chief Thierry Breton said in a statement.

“It will also allow new technologies such as wireless charging to emerge and to mature without letting innovation to become source of market fragmentation and consumer inconvenience,” he said.

“By autumn 2024, USB Type-C will become the common charging port for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras in the EU,” the European Parliament said in a statement.

Apple, which has warned the proposal would hurt innovation and create a mountain of electronic waste, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We are proud that laptops, e-readers, earbuds, keyboards, computer mice, and portable navigation devices are also included,” said lawmaker Alex Agius Saliba who steered the debate at the parliament.

Laptops will have to comply with the legislation within 40 months of it entering into force. The EU executive will have the power in future to harmonise wireless charging systems.

The fact the deal also covers e-readers, earbuds and other technologies will impact Samsung, Huawei and other device makers.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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