EU plans mobile charging port for all, down for Apple

A view of a harmonized mobile phone charger is seen during a press conference at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on February 8, 2011. REUTERS / François Lenoir

BRUSSELS, Sept. 23 (Reuters) – The EU aims to have a common charging port for mobile phones, tablets and headphones as part of a European Commission proposal presented as a world premiere on Thursday, with the move having a impact on the iPhone maker Apple (AAPL.O). than its rivals.

The move spanned more than 10 years, with the EU executive touting the environmental benefits and 250 million euros ($ 293 million) in annual savings for users.

According to the Commission proposal, a USB-C connector will become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and portable video game consoles. Chargers will also be sold separately from electronic devices.

The EU executive will revise its eco-design regulation in the near future so that the external power supply is interoperable, which is the last step for a common load.

The Commission said it was not targeting Apple and only acted because companies were unable to agree on a common solution despite a decade of talks, which reduced the number of phone chargers three-to-30 laptops.

Apple rejected the proposal.

“We remain concerned that strict regulations requiring only one type of connector stifle innovation rather than encourage it, which in turn will hurt consumers in Europe and globally,” the company said in a statement.

He also raised concerns about the 24-month transition period for companies to comply with the legislation once it is passed.

Commission industry chief Thierry Breton pointed out the unsightly sight of several charging cables.

“My job is to kill these sea snakes whenever I can,” he said at a press conference.

Breton also dismissed Apple’s comments as old chorus.

“I’ve known these companies for years. Every time we (come up with) a proposal, they start to say ‘oh, this will be against innovation.’ No, this is not against innovation, this is against anyone. Like everything the Commission does, it is for consumers, “he said.

IPhone and Android users have long complained about having to use different chargers for their phones. The former is charged from a Lightning cable while Android-based devices are charged using USB-C connectors.

Half of chargers sold with cellphones in 2018 had a micro-B USB connector, while 29% had a USB-C connector and 21% a Lightning connector, according to a 2019 Commission study.

The proposal needs the green light from EU member states and EU lawmakers, after which companies will have two years to adapt their devices.

($ 1 = € 0.8531)

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; edited by Robin Emmott and Gareth Jones

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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