The new standard for mobile phone charging ports has been previously opposed by Apple which believes the move will suppress innovation and build up waste.
The European Parliament has voted for the introduction of standardised charging ports for mobile phones in the EU. The new changes will force the iPhone maker to change its charging ports from a Lightning connector to the standard version of USB-C. The tech giant will need to comply with this new standard to continue selling in the EU.
The vote means that all phones, cameras, and tablets for European markets must have USB-C ports by 2024. USB-C connectors are the current standard charging system on all Android products.
Apple will be hugely affected by the move since the company uses its own Lightning connector on all its products and the company has openly talked about its disapproval of this reform.
Huawei and Samsung will likely be impacted by the shift since the new standard also applies to other electronic gadgets such as e-readers and earbuds among other electronic devices.
A standard charger for EU countries can save consumers around £219 million (€250 million) according to what the European Commission has said before.
The UK government may not implement the EU’s standard of having a common charging connector following what the government had said in June.
Unlike other parts of the UK, Northern Ireland will have to follow the new standard because of its terms of agreement with the EU following Brexit which maintains Northern Ireland on the single market for goods. Consumers in England, Wales, and Scotland will have to wait to see how the new vote will affect them.
Big tech giants Apple, Samsung, and Huawei are yet to give their latest comment on the reform which passed with a resounding vote of 602 with only 13 against it in parliament.
Previously, Apple had warned against introducing standardised charging ports arguing that the move would suppress innovation in the tech industry and create a build of electronic waste. While the company has voiced an opinion against the move, users of Apple and other devices have for a long time complained about needing different chargers for their different devices. A universal charger is something that has been discussed as a way to resolve this problem for iPhone and Android phone users.
But the European Parliament has said a standardised way for charging different electronic devices will lessen e-waste and support innovation though Apple believes otherwise. Apple has however been incorporating the USB-C into some of its products so it may face hardships in 2024 but not in the long run.
It has been rumoured that Apple may create an iPhone version that will have a USB-C charging port and the current models of the Macbook and iPads are fitted with a USB-C port. With the iPhone 15 scheduled for release in 2023, it may be the one that sets precedence for other devices from Apple.
According to Carmi Levy, a technology analyst a shift for Apple will be “an efficiency plan, simpler supply chain in a time of supply chain challenges.” For the tech company to maintain a share of the market in the EU it will require to change the design of its products to transition to the new standard.
The vote by the European Parliament will allow consumers easily carry around different brand devices and just one charging wire than six different ones all the time. Whether other countries outside the EU will follow suit is yet to be seen. It’s estimated that in Europe about one in five phones use the Lightning port by Apple while four use standard USB versions.
In 2018 most chargers sold with mobile phones had a USB micro-B connector with only 29% of chargers with USB-C connector and 21% with the Apple Lightening connector sold according to official figures.
“The common charger will finally become a reality in Europe. We have waited more than ten years for these rules but we can finally leave the current plethora of chargers in the past,” MEP Alex Agius Sliba said. He added that “this future-proof law allows for the development of innovative charging solutions in the future, and it will benefit everyone- from frustrated consumers to our vulnerable environment.”
Apple, which continues to favour its own charging system will be the most hit when this comes into play in 2024. The EU’s move will push all tech companies to create devices that can use a universal charger across the EU. Handheld devices will have to keep the time frame while laptops will have up to 2026 to incorporate the changes.
But the move may also push sales for Apple for consumers who want the Brand’s products but favour USB-C if the company starts developing USB-C-enabled gadgets. The new rule that was overwhelmingly voted by lawmakers will apply in 2024 and extend to cameras, laptops, and earbuds apart from phones. The vote was made as final approval of the provisional agreements that were made in June by member states of the EU.
The first-of-its-kind rule in the world by the European Union will mean that all medium-sized and small portable electronic gadgets will be able to use one type of charger for charging and data transfer. Customers with phones and other electronic devices that do not use USB-C connectors don’t have to worry about having to get new gadgets because the new rule does not instantly outlaw old chargers though many of these old chargers will have to gradually be rolled out.
Over 13 electronic devices will have to be equipped with the standard type of charging port and these include portable speakers, keyboards, handheld videogame consoles, and mice. The new rule will also extend to fast charging features on different electronic devices that support fast charging but it is still unknown what standard the bloc will adopt.