Despite Apple’s complaints, the European Union is ready to introduce legislation that will require device makers to use USB-C as a common charging solution.
“Today, the Commission takes an important step against e-waste and consumer inconvenience, caused by the prevalence of different, incompatible chargers for electronic devices,” an EU press release explains. “Years of working with industry on a voluntary approach already brought down the number of mobile phone chargers from 30 to 3 within the last decade, but could not deliver a complete solution. The Commission is now putting forward legislation to establish a common charging solution for all relevant devices.”
The main holdout against this common-sense plan is Apple, which uses USB-C for connectivity and charging on all of its primary hardware platforms except for one, the iPhone. And that despite the fact that iPhones could easily accommodate USB-C instead of the slower, inferior, and proprietary Lightning port. With Apple moving to USB-C everywhere else, only one conclusion makes sense: Apple is resisting USB-C on iPhones specifically because an outside force is requiring it to acquiesce.
“We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger,” EU vice president Margrethe Vestager said, alluding to Apple’s pushback. “This is an important win for our consumers and environment and in line with our green and digital ambitions.”
She’s right. Regardless of your take on Apple, what the EU proposes makes sense: there will be a single charging standard across all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld videogame consoles. And the EU also wants to unbundle the sale of chargers from the sale of electronic devices, an act that will improve the experience for consumers and reduce environmental waste.
The proposed legislation will now head to the European Parliament and the Council, and the EU expects a two-year transition period to give the industry time to adapt to a change that most made years ago anyway.
Tagged with USB-C