EU agrees to authorize USB-C as a universal charger for smartphones by 2024, a blow for Apple

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The European Union will require all new smartphones and tablets sold within its borders to have a common charging port by autumn 2024 and a laptop by 2026 under a new interim agreement, prompting tech companies such as Apple The company is in line with other smartphones. cosmopolitan in recent years.

European Parliament and European Council negotiators approved the law on Tuesday, saying in a statement that the measure aims to “make EU products more sustainable, reduce e-waste and make life easier for consumers”.

The law, which has not yet been formally passed, requires all smartphones, tablets, e-readers and portable speakers (as well as a long list of other small electronic devices) sold in the EU to use a USB-C charging port. The requirements for laptops will go into effect in early 2026.

Many smartphones and laptops, as well as Apple’s latest iPads and some previous-generation MacBook laptops, use this mini-pill-shaped port.

But the authorization got Apple into trouble because it locked the Lightning port on the iPhone and the charging case for the in-ear AirPods. Tech news site The Verge called the European law a “major blow to Apple’s Lightning port.”

Just as California’s environmental and safety standards often cause changes in the U.S. due to logistical difficulties and the financial infeasibility of creating different products for different countries, European shipping laws could have broad implications for portable consumer electronics across the country.

In Germany, the EU’s largest economy, the top three most popular smartphones are the iPhone, according to consumer research. Counterpoint, fourth and fifth are Samsung Galaxy phones with USB-C ports. In France, the EU’s second-largest economy, the iPhone holds the top four spots in the smartphone market, according to Counterpoint’s calculations.

Apple also recently brought its MagSafe magnetic charger back to the MacBook Pro, and announced on Monday that it would do the same for the thinner MacBook Air laptop.

Post technical support covers Apple’s announced MacBook and new iOS 16 features.

Apple appears to be gearing up for a crackdown: Bloomberg News mentioned last month that the company tested iPhone models that use USB-C instead of its own port amid the prospect of looming European laws.

Tech critics have long bemoaned Apple’s insistence on keeping its own ports, noting that while many device makers have complied with USB-C ports, Apple’s unique charging medium leaves consumers tangled with different cables.

Industry analyst Benedict Evans said the EU move could stifle innovative efforts to do away with charging ports altogether, such as using chargers with magnetic contacts instead of ports to enable ultra-thin devices.he is he wrote On Twitter, he said it was “hard to see any viable consumer benefit” from the law, which he said prohibits “certain ideas” such as the exclusive use of magnetic chargers.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment late Tuesday. When the European law was introduced in September, the company said in a statement: “We remain concerned that strict regulation requiring only one type of connector would stifle rather than encourage innovation, which in turn would harm Europe and around the world. consumers”.

When Apple stopped offering wired headphones and wall plugs for its iPhones in 2020, it said the reduction was for environmental reasons, though some argue it’s better for the company’s bottom line.

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