By Adeyemi Adepetun
EUROPEAN Union (EU) lawmakers reached an agreement following years of wrangling for USB-C to become the common charging port for devices in the bloc by late 2024, a landmark move that could have major ramifications for Apple.
In a statement, European Parliament and European Council negotiators said a deal had been reached to enforce new rules requiring manufacturers to use USB-C charging in products, meaning consumers no longer need a different charging cable every time they purchase a new device.
The majority of smartphones already offer USB-C, although Apple is an exception, with iPhones using its Lightning connector. Apple sold 56 million iPhones in Europe in 2021.
The new rules will require mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones, headsets, handheld gaming consoles and portable speakers to be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of their manufacturers. Laptops will also have to be adapted to the requirements by 40 months after the rules comes into force.
Further, charging speed will also be harmonised for devices that support fast charging, added the statement, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger.
The European Commission first began a campaign for a common charging port in 2009, in a bid to curb e-waste, and a proposal was drafted in 2021.
Now that an agreement has been reached on the scope, the legislation will need to be approved formally by the EU parliament and council later this year, which appears to be a formality.
The EU estimates the obligations will lead to more re-use of chargers and help consumers save up to €250 million a year on unnecessary charger purchases. Disposed and unused chargers are estimated to represent about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste yearly.