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EU plans to make USB-C mandatory for Apple iPhones and other devices

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The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has put forward a new law that would force smartphone manufacturers and other electronics makers to equip their devices with a standard USB-C charging port.

The proposed legislation, announced Thursday, is designed to cut waste and make life easier for consumers who would theoretically be able to use one charger for multiple devices.

It could have a huge impact on Apple as the company still uses its own Lightning connector to charge iPhones. Some iPads and MacBooks have been equipped with USB-C ports.

Apple’s spokesperson stated that Apple stands for innovation and cares deeply about customer experiences. 

“We share the European Commission’s commitment to protecting the environment and are already carbon neutral for all of our corporate emissions worldwide,” they said.  

“We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world. We look forward to continued engagement with stakeholders to help find a solution that protects consumer interest, as well as the industry’s ability to innovate and bring exciting new technology to users.”

Samsung and Huawei, two of its rivals in the smartphone market, have made some new phones compatible with USB-C ports. Many of their older models have micro USB ports.

The legislation would make USB-C the standard port for smartphones, tablets and cameras as well as headphones and portable speakers.

According to the commission, tech firms should stop selling chargers along with their products.

Margrethe Vestager (European Commission Executive Vice President) stated in a statement that consumers have been frustrated for long enough with incompatible chargers piling up inside their drawers.

Elle added that while industry had plenty of time for their solutions, it is now the right time for legislation to create a single charger. It is a significant win for consumers and the environment, and it aligns with our digital and green ambitions.

Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner said: “With more devices and chargers being sold, there is more that can be used interchangeably or are no longer necessary. That is why we are going to end it.

Before it can become law, the proposal will be part of an updated Radio Equipment Directive.

Device makers have two years from the date the legislation becomes law to conform to the proposed changes.

The European Parliament approved new regulations on a shared charger in 2020. This suggests that the current proposal might have wide support.

Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.