The European Union announced Thursday that it would impose a universal charger for smartphones, creating a conflict with Apple and its widely used iPhone connector cable.
The European Commission believes that a standard cable for all devices will reduce e-waste, but Apple says a single charger will stop innovation and create more pollution.
The EU is a huge market of 450 million people, and the imposition of USB-C as a cable standard could have a decisive effect on the global smartphone market.
“European consumers have been frustrated for quite a long time with incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers,” EU Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
“We have given the industry a lot of time to find their own solutions, now is the time to take legislative action for a common charger,” she said.
Consumers currently have to choose between three main chargers to power their phones: Lightning for Apple handsets, micro-USBs widely used on most other mobile phones, and increasingly used USB-C.
This range is greatly simplified from 2009, when dozens of different types of chargers were lumped together with cell phones, creating heaps of electronic waste when users switched brands.
“Inconvenient” and unnecessary
The EU said the current situation remained “awkward” and that European consumers were spending around 2.4 billion euros ($ 2.8 billion) per year on self-contained chargers that do not come with their electronic devices.
Apple, which already uses USB-C connectors on some of its iPads and laptops, insists that legislation to force a universal charger for all mobiles in the European Union is unwarranted.
“We remain concerned that strict regulations requiring only one type of connector stifle innovation rather than encourage it, which in turn will hurt consumers in Europe and globally,” Apple said.
The European Commission has long championed a voluntary agreement it struck with the device industry that was put in place in 2009 and saw a sharp reduction in cables, but Apple refused to comply.
In the commission’s proposal, which could still be significantly amended before ratification, smartphone makers will be given a 24-month transition period, which will leave “enough time” for companies to align, the company said. commission.
Apple said it believes the two-year transition period will be a major concern for the industry as it could prevent the sale of existing equipment.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)