EU effectively subtweets Apple on the USB-C iPhone

Chris Burns - Oct 15, 2021, 12:00pm CDT
EU effectively subtweets Apple on the USB-C iPhone

Today the European Union released a public statement on their intent to require USB-C for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, and more. “The European Commission tried to bring companies on board via voluntary agreements, which partially worked.” said Anna Cavazzini, Chair of the EU Parliament’s consumer protection committee. “However, not all companies have agreed, and that is why the Commission has finally proposed legislation for one common standard for chargers.”

That bit about “not all companies have agreed” is effectively calling out Apple, a key opponent to the idea of a required move of ALL devices to USB-C. Apple’s contended that their massive devices and accessories ecosystem with Lightning cords and connectors creates a situation in which moving to USB-C would create the eco-waste the EU suggests they’re trying to avoid. Apple was not happy about the most recent proposition.

Another part of the EU’s recommendation set for waste reduction is in “unbundling” products. This means selling smartphones without cords or chargers. “In future, phones and devices will no longer be automatically sold with cables and this will reduce electronic waste.”

As you might have noticed with your most recent smart device purchase, some companies have already started selling phones and tablets without power connectors. You’ll need to use the cords you already have at home – or purchase new cords separately.

Per the latest set of rules proposed by the EU, enforcement could begin as early as the year 2024. Cavazzini suggested this week that it’s hoped that the law will be put in place by the end of 2022, then countries would have a further two years to “implement the law.”

The rules include language that allows adaptation on the part of the European Parliament “if a new standard emerges that is better than USB-C,” according to Cavazzini. The key, here, is a single standard for all devices – or at least the most important devices mentioned by the legislation (smartphones), so that fewer new cords need be created.

Meanwhile an innovative individual created a working USB-C iPhone this month – not necessarily to push the idea that USB-C would be better, but to show that it WAS, indeed, possible. It doesn’t quite do everything the Lightning port and cord do, but it works!


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