Smartphones, tablets, and cameras sold within the European Union could be forced to adopt a single standard charging port by the middle of the decade if the latest plans from the European Commission get the go-ahead.
The proposals for a revised Radio Equipment Directive would mean that charging port and fast-charging technology would be “harmonised” across the EU with USB-C becoming the standard for all tech. Quite where this leaves Apple is open to some debate.
Under the EU’s latest effort, the proposal will be legally binding. A bloc-wide common charging standard was put to MEPs in January 2020 and the measure passed by 582 votes to 40, with 37 abstentions.
Today’s announcement also means that chargers would no longer be sold with gadgets and gizmos. The EU calculated seven years ago that 51,000 metric tons of electronics waste across the nation states was attributed annually to old chargers, although that number seems to have fallen dramatically since.
The direction of travel, however, has flagged concerns for Apple – not for the first time – which appears displeased at being steamrolled into making changes. El Reg understands the tech giant is concerned about the impact this would have on Apple’s bottom line the industry and create waste (in the short term at least).
Indeed, there are also concerns that if the rules are introduced too quickly it could mean that perfectly good tech with plenty of shelf life gets dumped prematurely.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg – you heard that right – that while it “shares the European Commission’s commitment to protecting the environment,” it remains “concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.”
Nevertheless, the EU is prepared to plough on.