In Long-Awaited Move, European Union Mandates Use of USB-C, Putting Pressure on Apple

By Paul Riegler on 5 October 2022
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Brussels as seen from the Mont des Arts

The European Union, which began to push mobile phone manufacturers towards a standard for charging devices at the end of the aughts, said it would require tech companies to include USB C ports for charging.

“One single charger for all mobile phones and tablets [will be] beneficial for the environment and for consumers,” the European Parliament said in a news release.

In 2009, the bloc coalesced around the micro USB connector, although it never got full adoption from device makers.

“By the end of 2024, all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C charging port,” the parliament said in a statement, adding that, “[f]rom spring 2026, the obligation will extend to laptops.”

The legislation will impact Apple more than other companies, because Apple has standardized around its lightning connector and largely ignored USB-C.

“We have waited more than ten years for these rules, but we can finally leave the current plethora of chargers in the past,” said Alex Agius Saliba, the parliament’s rapporteur.

Numerous Apple devices will be out of compliance with the legislation including Apple’s entire iPhone lineup, its lower-cost iPads, the charging case for its AirPods wireless earbuds, and many other accessories.

Under the new legislation, buyers will be able to choose whether to purchase a new device with or without a charging device.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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