EU to let Apple use a USB-C charging port in its iPhones

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EU to let Apple use a USB-C charging port in its iPhones

The new iPhone 14 smartphones are on display at the Apple Store in The Grove in Los Angeles, Sept 16, 2022. JAE C. HONG AP BRUSSELS - Apple will have to change its charging port for its iPhones in the European Union from autumn 2024 in order to comply with new rules introducing a single charging port for most electronic devices.

The European Union's role as a global standard-setter on phone technology is being strengthened by the amendment passed by an overwhelming majority in the European Parliament on Tuesday, the first of its kind in the world. An earlier agreement between EU institutions was confirmed by the vote.

READ MORE: EU agrees on single mobile charging port in blow to Apple

The new rules will make USB-C connectors used by Android-based devices the standard across the 27 nation bloc, forcing Apple to change its charging port for iPhones and other devices.

It will also apply to laptops from 2026, giving manufacturers longer time to adapt, although many already use USB-C.

Apple is expected to be the most affected player among the big providers of electronic devices to European customers, although analysts say the impact could be positive if it encourages shoppers to buy the US company's new gadgets instead of ones without USB-C.

The deal will have an impact on Samsung, Huawei and other device makers, as well as Apple's suppliers STMicro and Infineon, according to analysts.

Apple, Samsung and Huawei were not available for comment at the moment.

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The EU's lawmaker, Alex Agius Saliba, said mobile phones and other devices sold after autumn 2024 will have to be compatible with the single charger. Old chargers will not be outlawed, so customers can continue to use older models.

The EU market's large size means that the new rules can lead to changes in other countries.

Saliba said at a news conference that outlawing old chargers would have a disproportionate impact on consumers and the environment, but he said the change is expected to lead to a gradual phase-out of older products.

13 categories of electronic devices will have to adapt by autumn 2024.

The original proposal was extended by the EU's executive committee, which covered only seven types of devices. The laptops were added from 2026.

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In the past, Apple warned that the proposal would hurt innovation and create a mountain of electronics waste.

The change was discussed for a long time and was prompted by complaints from iPhone and Android users about having to switch to different chargers for their devices.

The European Commission estimates that a single charger would save 250 million euros US $247.3 million for consumers.

Half of the chargers sold with mobile phones in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector, while 29 percent had a USB-C connector and 21 percent a Lightning connector, which is used by Apple, according to a 2019 Commission study.

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In May, Bloomberg reported that Apple is working on an iPhone with a USB-C charging port that could debut next year.

An EU official said that the technology is not yet mature, and the Commission has been mandated by lawmakers to examine the possible regulation of wireless charging.