For purposes ranging from simplicity to the reduction of electronic waste, the EU announced in 2018 that it was considering introducing legislation that would mandate a common type of charging port for smartphones. Three years later, that appears to finally be happening.
As reported by Reuters, the European Commission will be presenting legislation next month to establish a common charger for smartphones and other electronic devices. The top choice will presumably be USB-C due to the connector’s practicality and increasing level of adoption; a Commission impact assessment study in 2019 found that “half of chargers sold with mobile phones in the European Union in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector while 29 percent had a USB C connector […].”
While it’s unclear how far the legislation might get, Apple would be the company that is most affected by this. That’s because the company’s iPhones (and many of its other products) leverage the Lightning connector for charging purposes. According to the study mentioned above, the Lightning connector only made up 21 percent of the chargers sold with mobile phones in the EU in 2018.
This is a proprietary computer bus and power connector introduced by Apple in 2012 that comprises 8 pins instead of the 30 pins used in the company’s older 30-pin dock connector. Thanks to its symmetrical design, users can insert it without paying too much attention to its orientation.
The EU’s legislation for establishing a common charger should have less of an impact on Android devices, as many of them are now powered by USB-C connectors.
Apple warned that the EU push for a common charger would hurt innovation and create a mountain of electronic waste if consumers were forced to switch to new chargers.
It also said the legislation was unnecessary as the industry moves to USB-C through a connector or cable assembly.