The European Parliament has approved a new rule that will introduce a single charging port for mobile phones, tablets and cameras by 2024 in the European Union in a world-first measure that is expected to affect iPhone maker Apple more than its rivals.
Tuesday’s move confirms an earlier agreement among EU institutions and will make USB-C connectors used by Android-based devices the EU standard, forcing Apple to change its charging port for iPhones and other devices.
The change had been discussed for years and was prompted by complaints from iPhone and Android users about having to switch to different chargers for their devices.
“As wireless charging becomes more prevalent, the European Commission will have to harmonise interoperability requirements by the end of 2024 to avoid having a negative impact on consumers and the environment. This will also get rid of the so-called technological ‘lock-in’ effect, whereby a consumer becomes dependent on a single manufacturer,” the European Parliament said in a press release.
“These new obligations will lead to more re-use of chargers and will help consumers save up to 250 million euros ($246m) a year on unnecessary charger purchases. Disposed of and unused chargers account for about 11 000 tonnes of e-waste annually in the EU.”
Among big providers of electronic devices to European customers, Apple is expected to be among the most affected, but analysts also expect a possible positive effect because it could encourage shoppers to buy the company’s latest gadgets instead of ones without USB-C.
The deal also covers e-readers, earbuds and other technologies, meaning it may also affect Samsung, Huawei and other device makers, analysts said.
EU politicians supported the reform with a large majority, with 602 votes in favour and only 13 against.