Apple seems to have some good news on the USB-C charging port front. According to a report in the BBC, the UK government says that it is not “currently considering” copying European Union plans for a common charging cable. A UK government spokesperson told the publication, “we are not currently considering replicating this requirement”.
Earlier this week, the European Union (EU) provisionally agreed that all new portable electronic devices must, by autumn 2024, use a USB Type-C charger. Apple so far has remained silent on EU’s new regulation. The company, however, had opposed the move when it was first mooted in 2021. Apple has said that making USB-C charging mandatory will hurt innovation.
What is EU’s new law
The EU’s provisional agreement on charging ports establishes a single charging solution for certain electronic devices. Under the new rules, consumers will no longer need a different charging device and cable every time they purchase a new device, and can use one single charger for all of their small and medium-sized portable electronic devices. Mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers that are rechargeable via a wired cable will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of their manufacturer. Laptops will also have to be adapted to the requirements by 40 months after the entry into force.
The charging speed is also harmonised for devices that support fast charging, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger.
Why EU wants common chargers
According to the EU, this law is a part of a broader EU effort to make products in the EU more sustainable, to reduce electronic waste, and make consumers’ lives easier.
Why EU’s decision hurts Apple most
The single biggest impact of the new rule will be on Apple. As while the rest of the smartphone industry has gradually moved to USB-C as a single, standardized wired charging port, Apple has stuck with its proprietary Lightning connector for almost the last 10 years. The company introduced the same with iPhone 5 in 2012. During the 2021 financial year, almost a quarter of Apple’s net sales came from Europe, with iPhone being the best-selling product worldwide. This makes the market too huge for Apple to simply turn its back on.
But for now, with the UK not falling to the rule should be some respite for Apple, if not huge.