USB-C will be required for phones sold in the EU
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By fall 2024, USB-C will be required for phones sold in the EU

 

A huge setback for Apple’s Lightning connector

Legislators in the European Union have struck an agreement on legislation that would require all future cellphones sold in the EU — such as Apple’s iPhone — to feature the universal USB-C connection for wired charging by the fall of 2024. Tablets, digital cameras, headphones, portable video game consoles, and e-readers, among other electronic devices, will be prohibited. Laptops will be required to comply with the requirement at some point in the future.

The law has been in the works for more than a decade, but it was only this morning that multiple EU authorities came to an agreement on its scope.

In a press statement, European Parliament rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba remarked,

  • Today we have made the universal charger a reality in Europe!
  • Multiple chargers stacking up with every new gadget has long been a source of frustration for European customers.
  • They’ll be able to charge all of their portable equipment with a single charger now.

The bill also includes measures to handle future wireless chargers and to harmonize fast-charging standards.

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The EU Parliament and Council must still pass the law later this year, although this looks to be a formality. The European Parliament claimed in a news release that the regulation will be in effect “by fall 2024.” All gadgets covered by the legislation and sold in the EU must use USB-C for wired charging by this date.

The EU’s implementation of a “common charger” is an attempt to reduce e-waste while also making life easier for customers. Lawmakers anticipate that in the future, phones and other electronic devices will not need to come with a charger since purchasers would already have the necessary components at home. According to the EU, the regulation may save customers 250 million euros a year on “unnecessary charger purchases” and reduce e-waste by 11,000 tonnes each year.

 

Apple with a proprietary connector

Apple, which is the only major smartphone maker that still uses a proprietary connector instead of USB-C, will be the most affected by the accord. In 2021, Apple sold 241 million iPhones globally, with 56 million of those sold in Europe.

When asked if the EU was explicitly targeting Apple during a news conference, Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, responded no.”It applies to everyone,” Breton emphasized. “It is not used against anyone.” We work for consumers, not companies, and in order for enterprises to access the internal market, we must supply them with clear laws.

“If Apple wants to sell its products within our internal market in two years, they must follow our standards, and their gadget must be USB-C,” said Rapporteur Saliba.

The new rule, according to the EU news release, only applies to gadgets “that are recharged through a wired cable.” Apple may be able to avoid including USB-C in its devices by developing a phone that solely charges wirelessly (as has been previously rumored).

According to recent rumors, Apple is privately testing iPhones with USB-C, and Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the firm might make the move as soon as next year. On certain laptops and tablets, Apple already employs the USB-C standard.

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Apple has resisted the EU’s efforts to compel USB-C on its products. Last year, a spokeswoman told Reuters, “We remain worried that rigid legislation mandating only one type of connection stifles innovation rather than fostering it, which would affect customers in Europe, as well as the rest of the globe.” It’s also been proposed that requiring USB-C conversion will increase rather than minimize e-waste by destroying the existing Lightning ecosystem accessories obsolete.

 

New Rule/ Standard For Phone Cables

The new rule, according to critics, would hinder innovation by disincentivizing manufacturers from establishing better charging standards. The EU denies this would be the case, stating that regulations will be updated when new technology is created.

“I don’t believe we’re committing to anything for the next ten years,” Breton remarked at the news conference. We have a guideline in the works, and we have a dedicated team that will monitor it all and makes adjustments as needed. ” “We’ll keep moving forward.

A charging standard for laptops is one component of the law that has yet to be resolved. While phone manufacturers will have 24 months to update their gadgets when the legislation is passed this summer, laptop manufacturers will have 40 months. This, according to EU parliamentarians, is owing to the difficulties of developing a universal charger for laptops with varying power requirements.

“We don’t have that technological confidence on a standard that can accommodate laptops ranging from 100 to 240 watts,” said Saliba, the rapporteur. “Our reasoning was to prolong the deadline for laptops in order to establish a clear standard.”

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