Image: Apple

It’s been a couple of years since smartphone giants switched away from replaceable batteries, but they could be making a mandatory comeback thanks to legislation that’s brewing from over the pond.

According to documents obtained by Dutch financial publication Het Financieele Dagblad, the European Union has drafted a plan that would prevent manufacturers from using non-removable batteries in their devices. The proposal appears to target any consumer electronic with a battery – not just smartphones and tablets.

Not surprisingly, the goal of the legislation is to reduce electronic waste. A lot of perfectly usable smartphones are trashed simply because of a dead or faulty battery that can’t be easily replaced by the user. These usually require a visit to a service center, which is a lot more inconvenient than just popping out a battery in the comfort of your own home.

The EU’s proposal also includes the creation of a new collection system for old smartphones, tablets, chargers, and similar electronics. Additionally, it aims to limit the use of environmentally harmful components and materials, such as cobalt and micro-plastics.

It’ll be interesting to see how Apple responds to this legislation, assuming it passes. The iPhone has never had a user-replaceable battery, which – allegedly – is part of what makes its slim design possible. A major re-engineering would be in order.

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6 Comments

  1. To go with those standard charging cables they just voted in

    i do miss replaceable batteries, but it doesn’t cause me outrage and I also kinda like how current phones are almost just a monolithic block of glass and aluminum – i don’t really want to go back to a flip phone form factor

  2. Anything a manufacturer would say is excuses and bullshit. They should pass it, not only that, they should pass standard form factors. Its fucking criminal they know it we know it , everyone knows it.. its wrong. Its time this shit needs to pass.

  3. I’m all for both of those changes across the board. A universal charging port AND replaceable batteries.. (Leading to extended life batteries! Man I miss those! As long as they stay water resistant/proof.

  4. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 10619, member: 96″]
    To go with those standard charging cables they just voted in

    i do miss replaceable batteries, but it doesn’t cause me outrage and I also kinda like how current phones are almost just a monolithic block of glass and aluminum – i don’t really want to go back to a flip phone form factor
    [/QUOTE]

    I’m all for this.

    The standard charging cable rule was not as good, but unlike that, this isn’t putting limits on the freedom of design, just stating that they must be user replaceable. It will still allow for unique design implementations.

    The problem with the standard charging cable is that it limits innovation. The problem with the status quo is that phone makers (*cough* Apple *cough*) have for years been using non-standard charging cables with no innovative benefit over standard ones, just so they can charge a licensing fees for replacement cables. That is total bullshit, and I understand why they might want to do something about it.

    I would have written that law differently. Allow non-standard cables, but only if device makers make them royalty free. That would have been a much better law.

  5. Or if they want a proprietary charging port they are required to include a dongle that converts it to USB-C.

  6. [QUOTE=”Riccochet, post: 10633, member: 4″]
    Or if they want a proprietary charging port they are required to include a dongle that converts it to USB-C.
    [/QUOTE]

    No thank you then everyone and their grandmother will have to have a set of dongles to service customers that want to charge.. NO THANKS. Give me the universal connector. Then charging stations can have all of the same damn cables for charging allowing customers to charge whatever. Sure there will be dongles for a time as everyone transitions to the new port requirements but still charging while out will be easier.

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