EU plan to mandate USB-C charger port for devices takes step closer

The European Union’s plan to mandate USB-C as a common charging port for smartphones, tablets, and headphones took a step closer on Wednesday when an EU panel backed the proposal, setting up an assembly vote next month.

EU wants to force all smartphone, tablet, and headphone makers to use USB-C charging port
Apple’s Lightning port


The European Commission suggested a single mobile charging port more than a decade ago, hoping phone makers would be able to find a common solution. It proposed draft legislation last year, a world first, after they failed to do so.

MacDailyNews Take: Ah, the expeditiousness of centralized government.

The European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee on Wednesday agreed with the Commission’s proposal.

Apple’s iPhones are charged from a Lightning cable while Android-based devices are powered using USB-C connectors.

The committee wants the USB Type-C port to be the standard for mobile phones, tablets, headphones, e-readers, low-powered laptops, keyboards, computer mice, earbuds, smart watches and electronic toys.

Apple has said the proposal would hurt innovation and create a mountain of waste if consumers were forced to switch to new chargers.

MacDailyNews Take: This proposal is clearly against one company, Apple.

And it obviously 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, late, bureaucratic, quasi-governmental meddling in the market.

If the EU had passed such a law when this was initially proposed, we’d all still be stuck with MicroUSB today.

Regardless, soon Apple’s iPhones 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 (and even better water resistance).

Years ago, in January 2018, Apple provided feedback on this issue to the European Commission:

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.

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  1. Centralized authority acting as a Centralized Authority does. Centralized authority is very nice and fluffy and advocates for you, until it advocates for another. Rarely does is act properly with long term benefits.

    The Free Market always knows better and acts in-line with human choices and incentives. It can be uncomfortable, though and we don’t like change, or the market acting against us.

  2. The EU should just faff off, permanently. Their parliament is just a place for politicians to fap themselves in public. The EU has been useless against the Russian threat. They might as well mandate Vladimir Putin use USB-C cables for all the good that will do, which is none.

  3. A unified port is ok as long as it is the one in the charger and not in the charging device (iphone). This way all that is needed is a USB-C to lightning (or whatever) cable. The original problem doesn’t even exist anymore by the way because chargers are usually not in the box anymore.

  4. In the history of the US electrical grid, there initially was chaos, with no standard plugs, no standard voltages, no standard frequency, etc. Standardization made life better for everyone.

  5. Why exactly has Apple been screwing iPhone users out of a USB-C port? Have you tried backing up 100GB+ of photos and 4k videos over lightning lately? Not an EU fan but this is on Apple for dicking us around, apparently to juice their profits on proprietary peripherals. I will not miss lightning any more than the 30-pin, if Apple finally gets dragged kicking and screaming into USB-C on iPhone I may have already moved on from that surveillance/control-freak company.

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