Right now, if you’re plugging in a smartphone, you’re probably using a Lightning or USB-C cable. But that choice is still too much for European lawmakers who now want phones, tablets, and other devices to all use the same way of charging.
Previously, the European Commission simply took the step of “encouraging” companies to make sure their devices were all using compatible charging cables. But now there are some members of the European Parliament who want things taken a step further. However, Apple isn’t keen on the idea.
Almost a year ago, Apple pointed out that anyone trying to make all companies use the same parts would “freeze innovation,” while also disrupting customers needlessly.
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. We want to ensure that any new legislation will not result in the shipment of any unnecessary cables or external adaptors with every device, or render obsolete the devices and accessories used by many millions of Europeans and hundreds of millions of Apple customers worldwide. This would result in an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and greatly inconvenience users. To be forced to disrupt this huge market of customers will have consequences far beyond the stated aims of the Commission.
Beginning in 2009, Apple led industry efforts to work together to promote a common charging solution. And with the emergence of USB Type-C, we have committed alongside six other companies that all new smartphone models will leverage this standard through a connector or a cable assembly. We believe this collective effort by many of the industry’s leading companies is better for innovation, better for consumers and better for the environment.
There is going to be a vote on the matter regardless of Apple’s stance, although it is still far from a forgone conclusion that new laws will be put into place. There are still people who want things to stay as they are without forcing companies to comply. However, this is something that has been rumbling on for more than ten years so it’s unlikely it’s going to go away any time soon, regardless of the outcome of the impending vote.
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