EU proposes mandating 1 charger for all smartphones to the chagrin of Apple

Mobile chargers next to European flag
(Image credit: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

The European Union's executive branch is charging ahead with a plan to crack down on an overabundance of chargers.

The European Commission on Thursday unveiled legislation to require smartphones and other electronic devices use a common charging port, USB-C, so that consumers don't need to have various different cables that are incompatible, The Verge reports.

"Are your chargers piling up in a drawer?" the European Commission tweeted. "We propose a common charger for mobile phones and other similar electronic devices. A single charger will be more convenient for people and will reduce electronic waste."

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Though USB-C charger technology has already been implemented in smartphones by numerous companies, the "main holdout" is Apple, The Associated Press notes. Apple's iPhones instead use a Lightning charging port. Consumers can make use of a USB-C to Lightning cable, but CNET complained in an overview of the new iPhone this week, "Wouldn't it be great if you could use the same charger for your iPhone and the other gadgets in your home? Apple's latest iPhone, however, is once again missing USB-C connectivity."

The new proposal would make USB-C "the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld videogame consoles," an effort to reduce "e-waste and consumer inconvenience," the European Commission said. The body is also seeking to unbundle the sale of chargers from the sale of the devices themselves.

If the proposal is implemented, the commission said that the industry would have 24 months to make the transition. Apple has previously criticized the idea, saying such regulation "stifles innovation rather than encouraging it." Apple also argued requiring it to switch from Lightning to USB-C would disrupt "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."

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