The European Union said on Thursday that it would implement a universal charger for smartphones, conflicting with Apple and its widely used iPhone connector cable. The European Commission believes that standard cables that apply to all devices will reduce e-waste, but Apple said that universal chargers will prevent innovation and cause more pollution.

The EU is a huge market with a population of 450 million. Forcing USB-C as a cable standard may have a decisive impact on the global smartphone market.

European Union Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said in a statement: “European consumers have long been frustrated by the accumulation of incompatible chargers in their drawers.”

“We have given the industry enough time to come up with its own solutions, and now the time is ripe for legislative action on the universal charger,” she said.

Consumers currently have to choose between three main chargers to power their phones: Lightning chargers for Apple phones, micro-USB chargers widely used on most other phones, and more and more USB-C charger for local use.

This range has been greatly simplified since 2009, when mobile phones were bundled with dozens of different types of chargers, and piles of electronic waste were generated when users changed brands.

“Inconvenience” and waste

The European Union stated that the current situation is still “inconvenient”. European consumers spend about 2.4 billion euros (approximately Rs 20,725 crore) each year on independent chargers that are not provided with electronic devices.

Apple, which already uses USB-C connectors on some of its iPad devices and laptops, insists that legislation that mandates universal chargers for all cell phones in the European Union is unfounded.

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Apple said: “We are still worried that strict regulations requiring only one type of connector will stifle rather than encourage innovation, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.”

For a long time, the European Commission has defended its voluntary agreement with the equipment industry, which was formulated in 2009 and significantly reduced cables, but Apple refused to comply with the agreement.

The committee said that in the committee’s proposal, the proposal may undergo major changes before it is approved, and smartphone manufacturers will have a 24-month transition period to provide companies with “ample time” to cooperate.

Apple said it believes the two-year transition period will be a major concern for the industry because it may prevent the sale of existing equipment.


This week on Orbital, the gadget 360 podcast, we discussed the iPhone 13, the new iPad and iPad mini, and the Apple Watch Series 7-and what they mean for the Indian market. Orbital can be used on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get podcasts.