Apple will have to say goodbye to the patented Lightning connector to comply with the new rules of the European Union (EU) that force the manufacturers of mobile phones, tablets and cameras to equip your devices with the current USB Type-C charging port standard which also enables high-quality data transfer.
The new law will officially enter into force by the end of 2024 and starting in the spring of 2026, the obligation will be extended to laptop manufacturers. Therefore, the apple company has little time to adapt, since unlike the rest of the Android manufacturers, it is the only one that has refused to use USB-C in its smartphone badge.
The regulation was approved on Tuesday, October 4 by the members of the European Parliament with 602 votes in favor, 13 against and eight abstentions. The goal of the legislation is to combat e-waste and empower consumers to make more sustainable choices.
According to data from the European Commission, chargers thrown away represent around 11 thousand tons of electronic waste per year in the bloc of 27 countries.
With these new obligations for manufacturers, regulators hope to boost reuse and save European consumers up to €250 million a year from unnecessary purchases of chargers.
According to the European universal charger law, consumers will be able to use a single charger for multiple portable electronic devicesregardless of who its manufacturer is.
The list includes “all new mobile phones, tabletsdigital cameras, headphones and headsets, portable video game consoles and portable speakers, electronic readers, keyboards, mouseportable navigation systems, corded rechargeable headsets and laptops, operating with a power delivery of up to 100 Watts”.
In addition, the law provides that all devices that support fast charging will need to have the same charging speed with any compatible charger. The EU is also working on harmonizing interoperability between wireless chargers. The measure hopes to put an end to the so-called technological “lock-in” effect, by which a consumer becomes dependent on a single manufacturer.
Is USB-C the solution?
Although the long-awaited regulation, which took more than 10 years to be approved, poses a solution to end the difference between Android and iPhone chargersthe reality is that it is a short-term remedy to minimize the problem of electronic waste.
Following approval, questions are being raised about how the power of each charger will affect devices. Nor has the change of standard been contemplated in the near future. Just because USB-C is the best option right now doesn’t mean it will be in five or 10 years.
The impacts of this legislation will come to light in the coming years. One example is that US lawmakers plan to copy the regulation, which would put more pressure on Apple.
For now, Apple will only be forced to change the Lightning connector for the new standard until the next iPhone 16 that it sells in the European market and that, according to its launch history, will arrive in 2024. The company has fiercely resisted the universal charger initiative and there are even rumors that it prefers to eliminate cable charging in order not to align with the wishes of European regulators.
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