All Phones in the EU will require USB-C, including all Apple Products- New EU Mandate.

Legislators in the European Union have struck an agreement on legislation that will require all future cell phones sold in the EU to feature the universal USB-C connection for wired charging by the fall of 2024. This goes for the iPhone, which has been using the lightning port. Other electronic gadgets, including tablets, digital cameras, headphones, handheld video game consoles, and e-readers, will be subject to the ban. Laptops will be required to comply with the rule at some point in the future.

Parliament’s rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba (S&D, MT) said: “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 video game 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”.

The EU’s implementation of a “common charger” is an attempt to reduce e-waste while also making life easier for customers. Lawmakers anticipate that in the future, phones and other electronic devices will not need to come with a charger because purchasers will already have the necessary components at home. According to the EU, the regulation may save customers millions of euros a year on “unnecessary charger purchases” and reduce e-waste by 11,000 tons each year.

Apple, which is the only major smartphone manufacturer that still uses a proprietary port (the lightning port) instead of USB-C, will be the most affected by the accord. Apple sold 241 million iPhones worldwide in 2021, with roughly 56 million shipped in Europe. Some of their lineups use USB-C though, like the iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad Mini. This mandate will only be in effect in European countries, but will Apple switch to the USB-C on iPhone units outside of the EU? Apple hasn’t revealed its plans.

According to the mandate, all phone manufacturers have 24-months to switch fully to the USB-C chargers for all the phone lineups being shipped to the EU.

According to the Verge, “Critics say the new legislation will stifle innovation by de-incentivizing manufacturers from developing improved charging standards. The EU denies this will be the case, and says it will update the legislation as new technology is developed.”

The next few months should be interesting, with the announcement of the new iPhone lineups on the horizon (iPhone 14, 14 Pro, and 14 Pro Max). Are they going to switch to the USB-C globally or are they going to ship different units with USB-C to only the EU while retaining the lightning port in other regions? We’ll find out soon enough.

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