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Apple against Brussels' bid to have one charger for all smartphones

One charger to the rule them all – that’s the plan from the EU Commission.

Brussels has outlined a set of proposals to establish one common charging solution for devices like phones, tablets, headphones and other electronics.

“European consumers were frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission.

Brussels believes tech manufacturers should have done this already themselves.

“We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions” said Vestgager. “Now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger.”

The plan is that the already widely used USB-C charger and port will become the standard for all new devices being sold in the European Union.

Aside from ease of use, the EU Commission wants to reduce the amount of so-called e-waste.

On top of forcing tech companies to only sell devices with the USB-C port, they will also forbid them from including a charger in the sale, meaning consumers will be able to use chargers they already own.

EU figures suggest 420 million phones and devices which would come under this directive were sold in 2020.

They also believe consumers spend approximately €2.4 billion annually on standalone chargers that do not come with electronic devices.

The proposal will now be considered by the EU Council which represents the 27 national governments of the EU and the European Parliament.

Brussels suggested device manufacturers would have a 24 month transition period once the whole of the EU signs off on it.

Big tech companies are already resisting the move however.

Apple responded to the proposal by saying, “unfortunately this legislation will disrupt a thriving ecosystem, create electronic waste, and greatly inconvenience users.”

With iPhones replying on lightening port chargers, Apple points to the fact that when this idea first started circulating in 2009, the main charging solution was the USB Micro-B connectors.

The company believes innovation around charges will be stunted if the EU imposes these measures.

The universal charger plan has been welcomed however by the European Association for the Co-ordination of Consumer Representation in Standardisation (ANEC).

They released a statement saying, “the present plethora of chargers – both within brands and among brands – represents unnecessary costs to the consumer and to the environment in the extraction of the raw materials for their construction and in their disposal.”

Reference