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EU lawmakers vote in favor of common charger despite Apple's plea

Update: The European Parliament has voted in favor of a resolution that calls for a common charging standard.

Published onJanuary 31, 2020

Lightning cable connected to an iPhone 7

Update, January 31, 2020 (2:19 AM ET): Despite Apple’s attempts at convincing EU lawmakers to rethink their call for a common smartphone charger, the European Parliament has voted in favor of the proposal.

Reuters reports that the European Parliament voted by 582-40 in favor of a resolution for a single charging standard. It is now upon the European Commission to accept the resolution and lay down rules, which lawmakers say, should be adopted by July.

Interestingly, the parliamentary resolution also urged the Commission to adopt rules for wireless charging. It said that wireless chargers should be able to charge many different mobile devices.

Apple has not yet commented on the EU resolution, although it is poised to take a significant hit because most of its phones sport Lightning ports. You can read more about this in the original article below.

Original article, January 24, 2020 (5:19 AM ET): Last week, news broke about the European Union’s intentions to create a law that could force smartphone makers like Apple to adopt a common charging standard. The EU believes that consumers and the environment would benefit if all phones used the same type of charger.

Pushing back against the move, Apple has reportedly said that adopting a common charger would stifle innovation in the industry. It also believes that if this were to become mandatory, it would create a heap of e-waste and harm consumers.

Apple, which provides Lightning chargers with most of its iPhones, stands to lose the most if the EU makes universal chargers compulsory. A significant chunk of the company’s revenue comes from the sale of accessories like chargers, Lightning cables, and adapters.

Meanwhile, most Android phones already support USB-C charging and it shouldn’t be hard for Apple to get on board.

Hey Apple, now would be a great time to ditch Lightning and get with USB-C
Lightning cable connected to an iPhone 7

However, in a statement to Reuters, Apple said, “We believe regulation that forces conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones stifles innovation.”

The Cupertino-based tech company also claims that the move could harm the European economy.

To prove its point, Apple commissioned a study by Copenhagen Economics outlining the potential consumer harm from a mandatory move towards a common charger.

The study apparently found that it would cost consumer €1.5 billion if the regulation comes in effect, outweighing the €13 million associated with environmental benefits.

The study also claims that 49% of EU households rely on different types of chargers, of which only 0.4% experience any significant issues.

Apple feels that the mandate is unnecessary as the industry is already moving to USB-C via a connector or cable assembly. The iPhone 11 Pro does have a USB-C charger, however users still need a USB-C to Lightning cable.

The tech giant hopes that the European Commission would “continue to seek a solution that does not restrict the industry’s ability to innovate.”

What are your thoughts on a universal charger for all smartphones? Do you think it is a good idea? Let us know in the comments section below.

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