European lawmakers have agreed on a new rule that will force all smartphones, tablets, and headphones, including Apple’s iPhones to use USB-C for wired charging. The EU Parliament says this is to ensure that consumers will no longer need a different charging device and cable every time they purchase a new device and can use one charger for all small and medium-sized portable electronic devices.
All device makers selling to the European markets are expected to comply with this new rule by 2024. The new EU rule would not apply to products placed on the market before the date of the agreement.
The EU Parliament’s decision bought to close years of debate and overridden Apple’s complaints that such regulation would hamper innovation and harm consumers.
What they are saying
The European Parliament in a statement announcing the new rule, said: “These new obligations will lead to more re-use of chargers and will help consumers save up to €250 million a year on unnecessary charger purchases. Disposed of and unused chargers are estimated to represent about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste annually.”
European Parliament’s rapporteur, Alex Agius Saliba also commented saying: “Today we have made the common charger a reality in Europe! European consumers were frustrated long with multiple chargers piling up with every new device. Now they will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics.”
“We are proud that laptops, e-readers, earbuds, keyboards, computer mice, and portable navigation devices are also included in addition to smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles, and portable speakers. We have also added provisions on wireless charging being the next evolution in the charging technology and improved information and labeling for consumers,” he added.
Why this matters
While most Android devices, especially, recent ones are converging by using the USB-C charger, Apple has remained indifferent and maintained its distinct flat-mouth charger.
Although the rule applies to products being sold in the EU, this is expected to filter down to other markets, including Nigeria as Apple may have to apply the same design to all its products going forward.