Anyone who has an entire box or drawer of discarded phone charging cables knows the frustration of multiple types of chargers and connectors. Evidently, European Union (EU) regulators feel the same way, as they are pushing for a universal mobile charger, according to ABC News.
The move would especially impact Apple, given that it uses its proprietary Lightning connector for iPhones and some iPads. According to a statement issued by members of the European Parliament, previous attempts to encourage device makers to unify behind a standard were unsuccessful, leading to a mandatory solution being considered.
“The Commission’s approach of ‘encouraging’ industry to develop common chargers fell short of the co-legislators’ objectives,” the statement reads. “The voluntary agreements between different industry players have not yielded the desired results.
“A common charger should fit all mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers and other portable devices, MEPs will insist.
“The debate on Monday will be wound up by a resolution in a forthcoming plenary session.
“According to estimates, old chargers generate more than 51 000 tonnes of electronic waste per year.”
Needless to say, Apple is not happy with prospect of being forced to eliminate the Lightning connector from its devices.
“Regulations that would drive conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones freeze innovation rather than encourage it,” the company argued, according to ABC News. “Such proposals are bad for the environment and unnecessarily disruptive for 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,” added Apple.
While unification behind a single standard would be welcome, Apple does have a point that arbitrarily doing so would orphan countless existing devices, cables and peripherals, making them obsolete and incompatible with future devices.