European lawmakers call for common charging port for all smartphones

Yolanda Curtis
January 16, 2020

If they haven't been reduced to only three types now which are USB Type-C, micro-USB, and Apple's lightning port, our living room would be filled with God knows how many cables.

The Commission's approach of "encouraging" industry to develop common chargers fell short of the co-legislators' objectives. For years, the European Commission has been pushing for a single charging method for mobile devices, even for Apple's devices as well.

At least some Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are now calling for "binding measures" that would force all devices sold in the EU to support the same chargers, regardless of manufacturer. As reported by MacRumours, the European lawmakers are debating whether all the smartphones and tablets and other portable devices should have the same port in order to increase convenience and reduce waste. This would result in an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and would be a major inconvenience for users.

However, things have also gotten a bit more complicated since 2009, with USB-C having emerged as a new standard that still hasn't been fully adopted. We want to ensure that any new legislation will not result in the shipment of any unnecessary cables or external adaptors with every device, or render obsolete the devices and accessories used by many millions of Europeans and hundreds of millions of Apple customers worldwide. And with the emergence of USB Type-C, we have committed together with six other companies that all new smartphone models will take advantage of this standard through a connector or a set of cables.

The Apple lightning connector has been there since 2012 when it was first introduced in the iPhone 5 to replace the previous 30 pin dock connector. However, there is a small change that the Parliament members end up voting for a voluntary approach which might not make a difference as companies like Apple would just end up ignoring it.

In 2018, European lawmakers conducted an inception impact assessment on the idea of a common charger and called for feedback from manufacturers.

Apple went on to say that almost 1 billion devices have already shipped with a Lightning connector and cited the third-party ecosystem that has popped up around creating Lightning connector accessories. Actually, not really. Apple has made responses before that using a single charging port for all mobile devices will freeze innovation rather than encourage it.

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