USB-C standard angers Apple, which uses lightning for new iPhones
Depending on how many smartphones or tablets you’ve had in the last decade-plus, you might have a collection of chargers sitting in a drawer somewhere. Some of them work on certain devices and models but not others. It’s a big, tangled mess. The European Union wants to do away with all that, mandating a single charger type that will work on any device. That charger would be the USB-C, used for most Android phones and for some Apple devices such as iPad Pros and Macbooks.
“Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices. With more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not necessary. We are putting an end to that,” E.U. commissioner Thierry Breton said. “With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics – an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste.”
A key product that does not use USB-C chargers is the iPhone, and Apple is less than pleased with the E.U.’s proposal.
“We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world,” Apple said in a statement.
The E.U. contends that having so many chargers generates excess e-waste, extraction of raw materials, and carbon emissions. Should E.U. members adopt the proposal, manufacturers would have a two-year transition period from the date of approval to make sure all devices sold in the E.U. comply. Around 29% of devices in the E.U. currently use USB-C chargers and 21% use Apple’s lightning charger. The rest are older models with USB-B connectors.
One way to get around the requirement is by making devices that charge wirelessly, something that might be in the works for iPhones anyway.