Europe might bans Apple's lightning port with a new law

Alonzo Simpson
January 16, 2020

At least some members of the European Parliament want "binding measures" to ensure that a type of charger is compatible with all portable devices, since the previous approach of the European Commission to simply "encourage" technology companies to develop a standardized solution "It did not meet the objectives of the co-legislators", according to an information session on the website of the European Parliament today. Voluntary agreements between the various players in the industry have not produced the expected results. If they haven't been reduced to only three types now which are USB Type-C, micro-USB, and Apple's lightning port, our living room would be filled with God knows how many cables.

The European Commission has been pushing for a single charging method for mobile devices for over a decade.

By having a standardized port across devices, the goal is to reduce waste and increase convenience.

More than a billion Apple devices have been shipped using a Lightning connector in addition to an entire ecosystem of accessory and device manufacturers that use Lightning to serve our collective customers. Forcing a switch to another connector type, Apple says, would "render obsolete the devices and accessories used by many millions of Europeans" which would result in its own "unprecedented volume of electronic waste". However, there is a possibility that the members of the Parliament might vote for voluntary approach and this would enable the companies like Apple to simply ignore the regulations.

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If the European lawmakers get their way, then companies like Apple will be forced to adopt USB Type-C port for charging iPhones and will have to drop the Lightning connector.

An Inception Impact Assessment from late 2018 recognized that the "current market trend" is toward chargers with detachable cables, along with the move toward wireless charging standards that could eventually obviate the need for any kind of common connector. Apple has made an argument to the European Union in the past suggesting that forcing all devices to use the same charging port would "freeze innovation" while also suggesting that it could be bad for the environment in its own way and "unnecessarily disruptive" for consumer.

Apple also suggested it could tiptoe around the regulations by including what it calls "unnecessary cables or external adapters" inside boxes.

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