Smartphones must have a standard port charger by 2024, E.U. says

Smartphones must have a common charging port by 2024, E.U. says

The European Union will require all new smartphones and tablets sold within its borders to have a standard port charger by the fall of 2024 and laptops by 2026 — under a new provisional agreement, pushing technology companies such as Apple to fall in line with other smartphone makers that have widely adopted a universal port in recent years.

 

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European Parliament and Council negotiators agreed on the law Tuesday, saying in a statement that the move is intended to “make products in the EU more sustainable, to reduce electronic waste, and to make consumers’ lives easier.”

Port Charger

The law, which still needs to be formally approved, requires all new smartphones, tablets, e-readers, port chargers, and portable speakers among a long list of other small electronic devices sold in the E.U. to use the USB-C type charging port. The requirement for laptops will take effect in early 2026.

The small, pill-shaped port is already used in many smartphones and laptops, as well as Apple’s latest iPads and some of its previous-generation MacBook laptops. 

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But the mandate puts Apple in a difficult position, as it has clung to its proprietary “Lightning” port on its iPhones and the charging cases for its AirPods in-ear headphones. Technology news site The Verge described European law as “a big blow to Apple’s Lightning port.”

European charging ports, as California’s environmental and safety standards often make a difference in the United States due to the logistical difficulties and economic infeasibility of developing different products for different states. The law can have widespread implications for portable appliances in the United States and around the world. 

In Germany, the largest economy in the European Union, the three most popular smartphones are all iPhones, and the fourth and fifth are Samsung Galaxy phones with USB-C ports, and port chargers according to consumer research site Counterpoint.

Smartphones must have a standard port charger by 2024, E.U. says

According to the counterpoint, in France, the second-largest economy in the bloc, the iPhone occupies the top four in the smartphone market. But Apple seems to be preparing for a crackdown.

Bloomberg News reported last month that it is testing an iPhone model that uses USB-C instead of its own connector as European law is imminent. Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment on Tuesday night. When European law was proposed in September, the company said in a statement: “

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When Apple stopped shipping wired headphones and wall plugs for the iPhone in 2020, it said the cuts were due to environmental reasons, but some said it would be better for the company’s bottom line.

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