The European Union has passed a law that will require phone manufacturers to adopt the use of a common charging port for mobile phones, tablets and headphones. The law, which was passed on Tuesday deals will affect Apple the most due to the nature of its charging ports.
In May, Apple announced that it was testing a USB-C connector that could replace the current lightning charging port in future iPhone models.
The Commission said Apple was not a target in the proposed changes, citing that the talks started about 10 years ago. Since then, mobile phone chargers have reduced from thirty to three. These are the USB micro-B connector, the USB-C connector and the Lightning cable charger.
“It will also allow new technologies such as wireless charging to emerge and to mature without letting innovation become a source of market fragmentation and consumer inconvenience,” EU industry chief Thierry Breton.
Currently, Apple’s iPads and Macs use the USB-C connector while the iPhones rely on the lightning port. The power bricks for wireless chargers for the iPhone and Apple Watch both use a USB-C connector. That means that despite Apple’s penchant for simplicity, cutomers are unable to use a single charger for multiple devices.
Since 2020, Apple shifted from including chargers in their iPhone package, instead promoting its MagSafe wireless charging system, which still use lightning. However, a wireless connection takes longer to charge a phone’s battery and to sync data with other devices. It’s also not practical in all circumstances, such as with some automobiles.
Apart from the MagSafe battery pack and the MagSafe Duo charger, Apple accessories including AirPods and the Apple TV remote still use lightning. Third-party accessories, such as chargers, car adapters and external microphones, also use the existing connector.
Apple had pushed back against the EU proposal, saying the move will stifle innovation.
“We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world,” the company said in a statement earlier.
Tech giants have been given 24 months to comply with the legislation for smartphone, and 40 months for laptops.