To comply with new rules requiring a single charging port for most electronic devices, Apple will have to change the charger for its iPhones in the European Union beginning in autumn 2024.
The reform, which was passed by an overwhelming majority in the European Parliament on Tuesday, could strengthen the EU’s role as a global standard-setter in telephone technology. The vote validated an earlier agreement reached among EU institutions.
The new rules will make USB-C connectors used by Android-based devices the standard across the EU’s 27 member states, forcing Apple to change the charging port for iPhones and other devices.
It will also apply to laptops starting in 2026, giving manufacturers more time to adapt, despite the fact that many already use USB-C.
Apple is expected to be the most impacted of the major providers of electronic devices to European customers, though analysts say the impact could be positive if it encourages shoppers to purchase the U.S. company’s new gadgets rather than those that lack USB-C.
Following the vote, shares in European semiconductor manufacturers rose on Tuesday, including those of Apple suppliers STMicro and Infineon.
Analysts believe the agreement may have an impact on Samsung, Huawei, and other device makers because it includes e-readers, ear buds, and other technologies.
There were no comments from Apple, Samsung and Huawei.
According to Alex Agius Saliba, the EU lawmaker who shepherded the reform through the EU assembly, mobile phones and other devices sold after autumn 2024 must be compatible with the single charger. However, old chargers will not be prohibited, allowing customers to continue using older models.
Because of the size of the EU market, the new rules may cause changes in other countries.
According to Saliba, outlawing old chargers would have had a disproportionate impact on consumers and the environment, but the change is expected to result in a gradual phase-out of older products.
By the autumn of 2024, 13 different types of electronic devices will have to adapt.
The original proposal from the EU’s executive Commission, which covered only seven types of devices, was extended by the Parliament. Laptops will also be available beginning in 2026, according to lawmakers.
Apple has previously warned that the proposal would stifle innovation and result in a mountain of electronic waste.
The change had been discussed for years and was prompted by iPhone and Android users’ complaints about having to switch to different chargers for their devices.
According to the European Commission, a single charger would save consumers approximately 250 million euros ($247.3 million).
According to a 2019 Commission study, half of the chargers sold with mobile phones in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector, 29% had a USB-C connector, and 21 per cent had Apple’s Lightning connector.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is working on an iPhone with a USB-C charging port that could be released next year.
The Commission has also been mandated by lawmakers to assess the potential regulation of wireless charging, but an EU official stated that no decision has yet been made, citing the technology’s immaturity.
(Adapted from CNBCTV18.com)