Tuesday, July 14, 2020

New EU common charger regulation might force Apple to adopt USB-C over lightning cable

This is all to stop electronic waste.

The European Union (EU) Parliament voted 582-40 on regulation that will push for common charging standards among manufacturers. This will apply for both wired and wireless chargers. Pretty much all devices now are adopting USB-C, including keyboards, mice, laptops, Android phones, etc. Even Apple has adopted USB-C on many of its devices, such as the iPad Pro and Macs. However, the iPhone and regular iPads still use lightning, along with other Beats products.

The reason the EU might be taking this drastic move is not just to make it easier on consumers. There is a widespread concern regarding wastage of charger cables, along with other electronic waste. It is already well known that lightning cables are thrown out by the millions every year. Having a common standard, in both wired and wireless, will help eliminate that.

Apple argued that adopting a common standard will hamper innovation and development. It is important to note that the iPhone, being Apple’s most popular product, having the proprietary lightning connector brings in a lot of revenue for the Cupertino giant. This is because of the different third-party companies that license the lightning connector for their accessories.

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Apple, innovation, and ditching the cable

However, Apple’s concern towards hampering innovation is genuine. The regulators said in a public statement that “without hampering innovation, the EU executive should ensure that the legislative framework for a common charger will be scrutinized regularly in order to take into account technical progress.” The regulators are urging the Europian Union to take up the new enforcement from July. When the law is passed, manufacturers will have to follow a set of guidelines on standardization.

It is rumored that Apple will attempt to get rid of a charging port all together in favor of completely wireless charging and data transfer. If the regulation is passed, mostly likely USB-C will become the standard for wired chargers, forcing Apple to adopt the standard. However, it is actually more likely that they will drop charging cables all together rather than adopt USB-C on the iPhone.

It is expected that wireless charging won’t change much as there pretty much all manufacturers follow the Qi standard. However, the law won’t be fixed to a specific standard. Based on the statement made by regulators, it seems that the standard can change in favor of a more innovative technology. The main purpose of the regulation is to make sure that everything a standard is universal among manufacturers to prevent electronic waste, not to fix the standard without allowing for innovation.

Would you prefer a USB-C iPhone or an iPhone without any ports at all? Let us know in the comments!

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