†The Commission proposes a universal charger for electronic devices “† Here is the title of the press release that very clearly sets out the intentions of the new law preparing Europe† The stated aim is to combat “user frustration and electronic waste”. This news comes as no surprise: the project has been expected for a while, now it is official and will be put to the vote in the European Parliament.
Specifically, the European Commission wants USB-C to become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, portable audio recorders and portable video game consoles by the year 2024. Apple has not been mentioned, but the Californian company is clearly the main focus of this initiative.
The Apple sets itself apart by using its own Lightning connector on all of its iPhones, headphones, and earbuds, as well as many of the other accessories it sells. At the same time, however, iPads and MacBooks charge via USB-C. This is exactly the kind of behavior that Europe is denouncing because the user is not able to use one wired charging solution for all electronic devices.
All against Apple
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President “For a Europe adapted to the digital age”, believes it will give manufacturers enough time to find interesting solutions”, but it is time for legislative action in favor of a charger. A major measure for our consumers and our environment, in line with our ecological and digital ambitions.”
“With an increasing number of devices, more and more non-removable or unnecessary chargers are sold. We will put an end to this situation”added Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market.
Will the iPhone be 100% wireless?
Please note that the bill does not currently cover wireless charging. Some would therefore think that in the next few years it could bring an iPhone to the market without any wired connection so as not to have to invent “Apple USB-C”. However, this hypothesis is unlikely. The European Commission explains that: “Manufacturers remain free to include any wireless charging solution in their products, along with wired charging through the USB-C port”† Which means the USB-C port would a priori be a mandatory addition.
No more chargers
That’s not all, the bill also wants to work on better consumer information and “uncouple the sale of a charger from the sale of the electronic device”. On this point, the European Commission shares the view of Apple – and to a lesser extent Samsung – who defend the idea of not putting the charger in the boxes to promote environmentally responsible behaviour.
“It is estimated that reducing the production and disposal of new chargers will reduce the amount of electronic waste by nearly 1,000 tons per year”reads the bill.