In a move impacting Apple more than its rivals, the EU aims to have a common USB-C charging port for mobile phones, tablets and headphones under a European Commission proposal presented on Thursday in a world first. The move has been more than 10 years in the making.
Under the Commission’s proposal, a USB-C connector will become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld videogame consoles. Chargers will also be sold separately from electronic devices.
The EU executive will revise its eco-design regulation in the near future so that the external power supply is interoperable, which is the last step for a common charge.
Apple pushed back against the proposal.
“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.
“I have known these companies for years. Every time we put (forward) a proposal, they start to say ‘oh, it will be against innovation’. No, it’s not against innovation, it’s not against anyone. Like everything the Commission does, it’s for consumers,” he said.
MacDailyNews Take: It’s clearly against one company, Apple. And it clearly freezes innovation: “This is what you must use and, at the speed we operate, it’ll be a decade plus before you’re allowed to change it, if we ever even get around to it.” So, this wasteful quasi-governmental dictate is par for the course for the EU which comprises a whopping 5.8 percent of the world population.
This is just needless slow-as-molasses, bureaucratic, quasi-governmental meddling in the market.
If the EU had passed such a law when this was initially proposed, we’d all be stuck with MicroUSB today.
Regardless, soon Apple’s iPhones and iPads won’t have any ports at all. As it stands even today, the Lightning port on our iPhones is largely superfluous. If anything, this misguided and late EU move only hastens Apple’s move to port-free iPhones (with likely even better water resistance).
Apple stands for innovation. Regulations that would drive conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones freeze innovation rather than encourage it. Such proposals are bad for the environment and unnecessarily disruptive for customers.
More than 1 billion Apple devices have shipped using a Lightning connector in addition to an entire ecosystem of accessory and device manufacturers who use Lightning to serve our collective customers. We want to ensure that any new legislation will not result in the shipment of any unnecessary cables or external adaptors with every device, or render obsolete the devices and accessories used by many millions of Europeans and hundreds of millions of Apple customers worldwide. This would result in an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and greatly inconvenience users. To be forced to disrupt this huge market of customers will have consequences far beyond the stated aims of the Commission.