EU one step closer to requiring Apple to switch iPhone, iPad and AirPods to USB-C
This week, members of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation that will force Apple to offer a USB-C port on all iPhones, iPads and AirPods in Europe.
The proposal, known as the directive, will require all consumer electronics manufacturers selling devices in Europe to ensure that all new phones, tablets, laptops, digital cameras, headphones, headsets, video game consoles laptops and portable speakers have a USB-C port. , regardless of the manufacturer. The exemptions will only apply to devices too small to offer a USB-C port, such as smartwatches, health trackers and some sports equipment. This “common port” would be a world first and would impact Apple in particular since it widely uses the Lightning connector instead of USB-C on many of its devices.
The Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee voted in favor of the legislation on Wednesday, with 43 votes in favor and just two against. In a press release, MEPs claimed the move would reduce e-waste, ensure product sustainability and make using different devices more convenient.
MEPs also expressed a desire to see clear information and labeling on new devices about their charging options, as well as whether or not a product includes a charger. They say this will help avoid confusion and make buying decisions easier for consumers who own multiple devices and don’t always need extra chargers. Apple has removed the charger from all new iPhone models starting with iPhone 12 in 2020.
In addition, MEPs want the European Commission to present a strategy to ensure interoperability between wireless charging solutions by 2026 in order to avoid fragmentation and reduce waste, ensure user convenience and prevent consumers from being locked into proprietary charging solutions. It’s unclear if this would include Apple’s MagSafe charging system for iPhone and AirPods, as it’s based on the Qi wireless charging standard.
In 2018, the European Commission tried to reach a final resolution on the matter, but it failed to enter into force. At the time, Apple warned that forcing a common charging port across the industry would stifle innovation and create e-waste as consumers would be forced to switch to new cables. The EU effort resumed last year, with the European Commission spearheading an updated version of the directive. To enter into force, the European Parliament must approve the bill next month, before discussing with EU member states the final directive.