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.
You can read Apple’s full statement below:
“Apple stands for innovation and deeply cares about the customer experience. We believe regulation that forces conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, and would harm consumers in Europe and the economy as a whole.
“More than 1 billion Apple devices have shipped using a Lightning connector in addition to an entire ecosystem of accessory and device manufacturers who use Lightning to serve our collective customers. Legislation would have a direct negative impact by disrupting the hundreds of millions of active devices and accessories used by our European customers and even more Apple customers worldwide, creating an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and greatly inconveniencing users.
“We do not believe there is a case for regulation given the industry is already moving to the use of USB Type-C through a connector or cable assembly. This includes Apple’s USB-C power adapter which is compatible with all iPhone and iPad devices. This approach is more affordable and convenient for consumers, enables charging for a wide range of portable electronic products, encourages people to re-use their charger and allows for innovation.
“Prior to 2009, the Commission considered mandating that all smartphones use only USB Micro-B connectors which would have restricted the advancement to Lightning and USB Type-C. Instead, the Commission established a voluntary, industry standards-based approach that saw the market shift from 30 chargers down to 3, soon to be two — Lightning and USB-C, showing this approach does work.
“We hope the Commission will continue to seek a solution that does not restrict the industry’s ability to innovate and bring exciting new technology to customers.”
Most Android phones already support USB-C charging and it shouldn’t be hard for Apple to get on board.