The European Parliament today voted overwhelmingly to implement USB-C as a common charging port in a wide range of electronic devices, including the iPhone and AirPods, by the end of 2024.
The decision, known as the directive, forces all electronics manufacturers selling their products in Europe to ensure that many devices contain a USB-C port. This “common port” will be the world’s first standard and especially effective for Apple since it uses the Lightning connector instead of USB-C on most of its devices. MEPs claimed that the measure would reduce electronic waste, address product sustainability, and make the use of different devices more efficient.
The order was approved by 602 votes, 13 against, and eight against. The statement issued by the European Parliament this morning said:
By the end of 2024, all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU must be equipped with a USB Type-C charging port. From spring 2026, the obligation will extend to computers. The new law, which was approved by the House of Representatives on Tuesday with 602 votes in favor, 13 against and 8, is part of the EU’s efforts to reduce online waste and give users strong opportunity to make sustainable choices.
Under the new rules, consumers will no longer need a separate charger every time they buy a new device, as they can use a single charger for all their small and medium-sized electronic devices. average sizes.
Regardless of manufacturer, all new cell phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld video games and headsets, e-readers, keyboards, mice , navigation systems, headphones and laptops that are charged via a wireless cable, working with a power supply of up to 100 watts, must be equipped with a USB Type-C port.
All devices that support fast charging will now have the same charging speed, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger.
The exemption will apply to devices that are too small to offer a USB-C port, such as smart watches, health monitors, and some sports equipment, but the rule is expected to be expanded to other devices on time. Companies will also ensure that labels clearly inform consumers about the charging characteristics of the devices they purchase.
In addition, the EU seeks to ensure that wireless charging methods work together as the technology evolves over time. The directive allows the European Commission to extend delegated acts by the end of 2024 that compel companies to make traditional wireless charging systems open and comply with operational standards, helping consumers avoid being locked out. in proprietary charging methods while preventing segregation and reducing waste. It is not clear if this will include Apple’s MagSafe charging system for iPhone and AirPods since it relies on the Qi wireless charging standard.
Now, the directive must be approved by the European Parliament for it to be published in the EU Journal. It will come into force 20 days after publication in the EU Journal and its requirements will apply to new devices after 24 months. this issue.
In 2018, the European Commission tried to reach a final decision on this issue but failed to pass it into law. At the time, Apple warned that forcing a common charging station on the industry would stifle innovation and create electronic waste as consumers would be forced to switch to new cables.
The EU initiative resumed last year, with the European Commission leading a new version of the directive. In April, the Internal Market and Markets Committee voted in favor of the directive, with 43 votes in favor and only two against. In June, the European Union Committee on the Internal Market and Product Protection reached an agreement to present the directive to the European Parliament.
Both Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and BloombergMark Gurman says Apple is testing a version of the iPhone that has a USB-C port instead of a Lightning port. Kuo believes that Apple may switch the iPhone to USB-C starting with 2023’s iPhone 15, before switching to AirPods and other accessories at a later date. This time will allow Apple to convert most of the affected devices to USB-C before the EU directive goes into effect.
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