Apple will have to change the connector for iPhones sold in Europe by 2024 after European Union politicians agreed on a single mobile charging port for cellphones, tablets and cameras.
- Politicians say European consumers have been calling for this change for more than a decade
- Apple says move will hurt innovation and create mountain of e-waste
- The deal will also impact Samsung, Huawei and other device makers
The European Commission said the move would make life easier for consumers and save them money.
The first global policy intervention comes after tech companies failed to find a common solution.
Brussels has been pushing for a single mobile charging port for more than a decade, following complaints from iPhone and Android users about having to switch to different chargers for their devices.
iPhones are charged from a Lightning cable, while Android-based devices use USB-C connectors.
According to a 2019 Commission study, half of the chargers sold with mobile phones in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector, while 29% had a USB Type-C connector and 21% a Lightning connector.
“By autumn 2024, USB Type-C will become the common charging port for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras in the EU,” the European Parliament said in a statement.
European industry chief Thierry Breton said the deal would save consumers about 250 million euros ($372 million).
“It will also allow new technologies such as wireless charging to emerge and mature without letting innovation become a source of market fragmentation and consumer inconvenience,” he said.
Apple, which warned the proposal would hurt innovation and create a mountain of e-waste, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“We are proud that laptops, e-readers, headphones, keyboards, computer mice and portable navigation devices are also included,” said politician Alex Agius Saliba who led the debate in parliament.
Laptops will have to comply with the legislation within 40 months of its entry into force.
The EU executive will in future have the power to harmonize wireless charging systems.
The fact that the deal also covers e-readers, headphones and other technologies will impact Samsung, Huawei and other device makers.