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Apple criticises EU proposal for one USB-C to rule them all

Mobile News
September 24, 2021

The US giant argues that consumers will be harmed by the proposal

Apple says consumers in Europe and the rest of the world will be harmed by a proposed EU directive that would require all devices have a USB-C charging port.

A statement from Apple said: ‘We look forward to continued engagement with stakeholders to help find a solution that protects consumer interest, as well as the industry’s ability to innovate and bring exciting new technology to users.’

Apple confirmed it is working with the EE to understand the details of the proposed regulations, calling the transition period both short and a ‘major concern’ and it hopes EU will continue to allow existing phone models to be sold in order to prevent premature disposals of phones as part of trade-ins for newer models.

The EU reckons around 420 million mobile phones and other portable electronic devices were sold in the last year and that a consumer owns around three mobile phone chargers, of which they use two on a regular basis.

“Consumers report having experienced problems at least once that they could not charge their mobile phone because available chargers were incompatible. The situation is inconvenient and costly for consumers, who spend approximately €2.4 billion annually on standalone chargers that do not come with their electronic devices.

“In addition, disposed of and unused chargers are estimated to represent about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste annually. A common charging solution is expected to reduce this by almost a thousand tonnes annually”.


Alexandra Brodie of the e-law firm, Gowling WLG disagreed with Apple’s assessment that consumer choice would be harmed by the directive.

“Some commentators argue that the rule will stifle innovation but this seems unlikely given that the true step forward will be a lack of dependence on carbon-based power as opposed to innovative charging cables and ports.

“There is also a direct consumer benefit with regard to cost – the democratisation of the charging port should bring prices down for cables.”

CCS Insight chief analyst Ben Wood said many of Apple’s products such as the MacBooks and iPads already support USB-C.

“Apple has made a strong argument for keeping its Lightning connector given the one billion active iPhone users. Having a common charging standard would be a victory for common sense. Hopefully, it will eventually become a non-issue if Apple keeps adding USB-C to more devices.”

Pieter Waasdorp, managing director of eco-conscious recycler Renewd, said: “We are in favour of standardisation and welcome a harmonised charging port for all electronic devices because of its sustainable impact by reducing e-waste.

“The average European household has almost eight unused USB wall adaptors at home. We removed adaptors from our retail boxes for our iPads and watches in line with similar decisions made by Apple and Samsung.”

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