The European Union is planning to standardize charging ports and fast charging tech for electronic devices – something that could force OEMs to adapt to a single tech for charging. The proposal of the EU’s executive arm says that USB C will be the common port, and this move is expected to impact Apple given that it still uses the Lightening connector for most of its devices.
What Exactly Is The USB C Proposal?
The USB C proposal was to allow consumers to charge their devices using a standard USB port, saving some hassle. It is also unbundling charger sales from sales of electronic devices to limit unused and unwanted charger purchases.
Once the proposal is through, OEMs will have to comply with the common standardized port for all of their future tablets, smartphones, headphones, cameras, and handheld consoles.
However, it only covers devices that are wired. This means that devices that have wireless charging wouldn’t need to comply with the proposal.
Moreover, the proposal to harmonize fast charging tech could prevent devices from going kaput because of a mismatch between charging power and the output power their devices can handle.
The Reason Behind The USB C Proposal
The EU reports that an average consumer owns at least three phone chargers. But 38% complain that they’re encountering problems regarding charging incompatibility. It added that consumers spend billions of Euros annually just to buy standalone and incompatible chargers that do not come with their newly-bought devices.
In addition, devices chargers make up about 11,000 tons of e-wastes annually.
According to European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, the European people were always frustrated and already tired of having incompatible chargers piling up their drawers. That’s why the push is on for legislative action to have a standard charging port. She added that this decision is important for Europe’s consumers and environment to keep in line with its green and digital ambitions.
The Advantages Of Having USB C Over Apple’s Lightening Connector
Apple’s Lightening connector was introduced even before USB C entered the market. Back in the day, most people use micro-USBs for their devices, which was inferior to the Lightening in terms of durability and power output. But by the time USB C entered the market in 2014, some of these problems were finally fixed.
However, Lightening connects still proved to be more durable than USB Cs. Because of the way Lightening connectors were made, any malfunction on the connector tab can easily be replaced by buying a new cable. In the case of the USB C protocol, since the connecter tabs are in the device’s ports, any malfunction could really cost you some serious dosh since it requires a replacement of the port.
Also, the slimmer profiles of Lightening connectors allow Apple to build slimmer devices.
Still, USB Cs are more advantageous since they can handle high charging output. Lightening cables have a power output of 18 W, but since they’re only exclusive to a couple of devices, the output handling is restricted by what the devices can handle. USB Cs, on the other hand, can provide up to 100 W, making them more capable and cost-efficient for the majority of devices.
Some Impacts Of The Proposal
As the proposal is seeing the light of day, a given transition period of 24 months will give the industry ample time to adapt before the official implementation.
According to sources, Apple disagrees with the proposal, saying that the act could stifle future innovation rather than encourage it. At the same time, it could harm consumers all around the world.
However, if passed, there’s nothing Apple can do but comply with USB C ports for its future devices. Given Apple’s strict discipline of uniformity from its production lines, there’s a possibility that Apple devices will change for other jurisdictions as well.
It is noteworthy though that Apple has been trying to move away from the Lightening cable by releasing iPads and MacBooks that feature USB Cs.
Meanwhile, there are also rumors that Apple has been working on a portless iPhone that can be charged completely wireless.