The European Union announced Tuesday a news law requiring the use of a single charging standard for electronic devices (mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers that are rechargeable via a wired cable), based on USB-C port. The legislation is aimed at reducing e-waste and eliminating “cable clutter,” said Margrethe Vestager, European Commission Vice President. Consumers would also have to be able to buy a device without a bundled charger if they choose. Laptops will have to comply with the legislation within 40 months. Apple iPhones with the Lightning connector will be affected. Existing consumers can still use the Lightning cable, but maybe there would be less purchases of older products on third-party platforms. Efforts to mandate a single standard for charging in Europe date back more than a decade. The political intervention, which the European Commission said would make life easier for consumers and save them money, came after companies failed to reach a common solution.
Half the chargers sold with mobile phones in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector while 29% had a USB-C connector and 21% a Lightning connector. USB-C is an industry-standard connector for transmitting both data and power on a single cable. It was developed by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the group of companies that has developed, certified, and shepherded the USB standard over the years. The USB-C connector looks similar to a micro USB connector at first glance, but it’s more oval in shape.