The EU on Tuesday reached a provisional agreement to have USB-C as a common charger for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras by 2024. The move would mean Apple would be forced to abandon Lightning connectors for its iPhones and tablets and switch to a USB-C charger. In May, Bloomberg reported Apple was testing iPhones with USB-C ports and that it might come in 2023.
“Under the new rules, consumers will no longer need a different charging device and cable every time they purchase a new device, and can use one single charger for all of their small and medium-sized portable electronic devices,” the European Parliament announced in a press release. The EU says the agreement is part of its larger effort to reduce electronic waste and make products more sustainable.
Device makers have until autumn 2024 to comply with the law and it extends to headsets and headphones, earbuds, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers. Laptops are given more time to come with the common USB-C charger and will have 40 months after the law goes into effect. “These new obligations will lead to more re-use of chargers and will help consumers save up to 250 million euro a year on unnecessary charger purchases,” the EU wrote. “Disposed of and unused chargers are estimated to represent about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste annually.”
Apple initially did not agree with the proposal saying it would stifle innovation but appears to have no choice but to comply after a Bloomberg report said it was testing USB-C iPhones. Apple’s current laptop uses the USB-C port but its iPhones and tablets still use the Lightning port.
The law will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the EU official journal, but it will not affect products already released before the date of publication.