The European Commission said on Thursday that it plans to make a common USB-C charging port for all phones from across brands including Apple. The rule is said to be implemented on a few other wired electronic devices including tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers, and a few more.
The idea behind the proposal is to reduce the quantity of electronic waste being generated on a year-on-year basis. EU says that it throws around 11,000 tonnes of chargers every year, most of which are unused. With the standard charging port proposal, the electronic wastage is expected to reduce by as much as 1,000 tonnes.
Commissioner Thierry Breton said in an official statement, “chargers power all our most essential electronic devices. With more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not necessary. We are putting an end to that.” “With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics – an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste,” Breton further stated.
A universal charging port is definitely bad news for the iPhone maker. This is sure because Apple’s iPhones come bundled with a lightning connector and a sudden move to a USB-C port will require a complete redesign. Android phone makers, on the other hand, will not be impacted as much since they have already standardized USB-C type port for most of their latest devices in the last few years.
Why standard charging ports? Explained in 5 points
What does the EU’s standard charging port proposal mean and how will it impact consumers and tech companies? Let’s explain everything about the new common charging port proposal in five simple points.
1) The European Commission reveals, most people own as many as three chargers each and on an average, around 2.4 billion euros ($2.8 billion) is spent on standalone chargers annually. With the proposed common charging port rule, the commission expects to save nearly 250 million euro each year.
2) The proposal is applicable only for wired devices and doesn’t touch upon wireless ones. Under this rule, consumers will get an option to buy a smartphone without a charger. The idea is to reuse old chargers as long as possible and once that stops working then the consumer can move to a new one. A Bloomberg states, under the rule, all chargers will need to offer the same speed of charging. Currently, there is no information on how these guidelines will be implemented. More clarity on the matter will be shared once the proposal gets a go ahead.
3) Once the proposal comes into effect (few years down the line), Apple will need to redesign its iPhones with USB-C charging ports. The Cupertino-based tech giant has opposed the proposal and said it limits the company’s innovation plans in terms of bringing energy-efficient products. Responding to the tech giant, the commission said it is not touching the wireless charging technology and innovation can happen in that aspect.
4) Commenting on the proposal, Apple said it “deeply cares about the customer experience” and shares EU’s “commitment to protecting the environment.” To reduce e-waste generation, the Cupertino-based tech giant began removing adapters from retail boxes last year. The tech giant uses the lightning port for iPhones and other devices since the beginning and a sudden move to a standard USB-C type port can push Apple to redesign iPhones all over again.
5) For the standard charging port rule to come into effect, the proposal first needs to be approved by the European Parliament and then adopted by manufacturers. As per reports, the new legislation could come into effect in 2024. The specific timeline hasn’t been revealed yet.
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