Next month the European Commission (EU) will present legislation to establish a common charger for mobile phones and other electronic devices, reports Yahoo! Finance.
The article notes that the move will affect iPhone maker Apple more than its rivals. iPhones are powered by its Lightning cable; Android devices are powered by USB-C connectors.
The EU is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its policies aim “to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development.”
The EU’s stance
An EU study in 2019 found that half of chargers sold with mobile phones in the European Union in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector; 29% had a USB-C connector; and 21% a Lightning connector. Last year, lawmakers at the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a common charger, citing environmental benefits and convenience to users.
The government agency says a common charger should fit all mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers and other portable devices. According to estimates, old chargers generate more than 51,000 tons of electronic waste per year, the briefing notes.
Apple doesn’t like the idea. In a Jan. 31, 2019, filing, the tech giant said that regulations that would drive conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones freeze innovation rather than encourage it. The company added that such proposals are bad for the environment and unnecessarily disruptive for customers.
In its filing, the iPhone maker said: “More than 1 billion Apple devices have shipped using a Lightning connector in addition to an entire ecosystem of accessory and device manufacturers who use Lightning to serve our collective customers. We want to ensure that any new legislation will not result in the shipment of any unnecessary cables or external adaptors with every device, or render obsolete the devices and accessories used by many millions of Europeans and hundreds of millions of Apple customers worldwide. This would result in an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and greatly inconvenience users. To be forced to disrupt this huge market of customers will have consequences far beyond the stated aims of the Commission.
“Beginning in 2009, Apple led industry efforts to work together to promote a common charging solution. And with the emergence of USB Type-C, we have committed alongside six other companies that all new smartphone models will leverage this standard through a connector or a cable assembly. We believe this collective effort by many of the industry’s leading companies is better for innovation, better for consumers and better for the environment.”