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EU wants all smartphones to feature USB Type-C port; Will Apple follow the clan?

EU aims to make USB Type-C port a standard for all smartphones. Here's what it is

Vanshika Malhotra Vanshika Malhotra @vanshi_mal
New Delhi Updated on: January 17, 2020 12:20 IST
EU, European Union, USB Type-C port, smartphones, tablets, e-readers, standard chargers for smartpho

Charging port standard

From 3.5mm chargers to micro-USB to USB Type-C, most of us have seen all kinds of charging cables and without a doubt, the third variant is currently the most-used one. This can now become the ‘only-used’ one as the EU or European Union seeks to make USB Type-C ports standard for all smartphones. Read on to know more.

USB Type-C port, a unified port

Back in 2014, during the Radio Equipment Directive, EU lawmakers aimed to develop a standard charger for all devices (smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices). However, this could not happen then due to the lack of co-legislatures.

Six years later, the EU wants to take this idea forward and is demanding this should happen. A debate session took place on January 13, 2019, regarding the same, and a follow-up voting session will take place to finally come onto a conclusion.

Why the unification of chargers? The EU’s intent is simple and seems quite an idea; it wishes to reduce the production of electronic waste and make users’ life easy.

Will Apple conform?

The European Union released the ‘Standard charger for mobile phones: Inception Impact Assessment 2018’ and suggested that the policies to reduce e-waste are not being followed properly. 

To this assessment, Apple clearly had counter-opinion. The Cupertino tech major said, “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.”

Apple seems to be against the idea and the aforementioned statement proves it. However, this was in 2018 and Apple has been rumoured to finally drop its lightning connector and go for USB Type-C ports.

Hence, we can safely assume that it a standard for chargers is reinforced, Apple might not be the backing out.

Having said that, it still is a rumour and we don’t really know what Apple has up its sleeves.

My take

Point A is a social cause; reducing e-waste is needed. It is suggested that around 51,000 tonnes of old chargers are e-waste and this number is annual. Of course, this initiative won’t reduce the e-waste generation a lot but this seems to be a start.

Point A is a focus on user convenience and as a user, I feel the regulation could work. We will all have smartphones and other devices with USB Type-C ports and hunting for a charger will get easy. 

However, this has a downside too; even if all smartphones get USB Type-C, not all of them will support the same charging tech. Additionally, the standardisation might not lead new innovations in charging tech and this is not something we want.

As a reminder, nothing concrete has been decided yet. Therefore, we will have to wait until something is made official. So, stay tuned to this space.

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