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Europe wants unique charging port on every cell phone; Apple opposes

by Ace Damon
Europe wants unique charging port on every cell phone; Apple opposes

The European Union has again discussed a topic that has been dragging on for a decade: the standardization of battery-charging connectors for mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers and other devices. Apple opposes the proposal, saying it will hurt innovation; while the rest of the industry is making the transition from microUSB to USB-C.

USB-C port on Xperia XZ1

In statement On Monday (13), the European Commission says manufacturers were encouraged to adopt a single charging standard, but this approach "fell short of the co-legislators' goals" and the agreements signed by the companies "did not produce the desired results". .

The goal, in addition to improving interoperability between mobile phones of different brands, is to reduce junk mail: it is estimated that over 51,000 tons of old chargers are thrown away every year.

The idea has been questioned by Apple for years. In 2019, she wrote to the European Commission: "Rules that unify the type of connector built into all smartphones freeze innovation rather than encourage it."

Apple tries to stop single port from loading in EU

This story begins in 2009, when there were over 30 different types of chargers: Samsung phones had one connector, LG devices had another, Sony Ericsson had a third, and so on. It was terrible.

So the European Commission proposed that the market should self-regulate, and the manufacturers accepted: the list includes Apple, Motorola, Nokia, RIM, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. They signed a memorandum stating that their phones would ship with a microUSB port, or would have their own connector, and the company would sell an adapter – an open exception because of Apple.

The iPhone was sold with the 30-pin connector, which was replaced by the Lightning port in 2012. To fulfill the deal, Apple went on to sell a microUSB adapter for Lightning only in Europe, charging € 19 (about $ 50 at the time).

In 2014, the subject came up again when the European Parliament adopted the Radio Equipment Directive, which called for a "renewed effort to develop a common charger".

Apple advocated the idea that the USB-C port should be made mandatory at the tip of the charger, not the phone itself, to "preserve innovation." It now offers USB-C chargers in the box with iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max (iPhone 11 is still accompanied by a USB-A accessory).

The company said in 2016 "USB Type-C continues Apple's innovations in its proprietary Lightning connector used on iPhones and iPads." This is in one of the documents sent by the company to the European Commission and obtained by the German website Netzpolitik.

For Apple, the enhancements brought by Lightning and built into USB-C "would not have been possible if the device-side connector had restrictions." She estimates that by imposing the same charger on every cell phone, the cost to consumers would be € 500 million to € 2 billion, "far greater than the potential incremental benefit to the environment."

With information: MacRumors.


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