Europe confirms the death of the Lightning (and that’s good news)

In autumn 2024, USB-C will become the common charging port for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras in the EU. Even Apple, fiercely opposed to this measure, will have to sacrifice its historic Lightning port.

It was only a matter of time, it’s now official: USB-C will become the universal charging port on many electronic devices. The 27 EU countries and MEPs reached an agreement on Tuesday to impose a single charging solution, USB-C, for a number of electronic devices. At the forefront are smartphones, tablets, e-readers, in-ear headphones, digital cameras, headphones and earphones, portable video game consoles and portable speakers.

These devices, which are rechargeable via a wired cable, will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port by fall 2024, regardless of their manufacturer. The agreement also provides that laptops are subject to the same requirement “within 40 months of the entry into force of the text”i.e. by 2026. With these new rules, the European Parliament welcomes the fact that consumers “will no longer need a different device and charging cable each time they buy a new device, and will be able to use a single charger for all their small and medium-sized portable electronic devices”. Besides the savings for consumersthis decision aims to limit electronic waste.

USB-C is already a must on many devices, except the iPhone

Of many manufacturers have already adopted USB-C on their devices. This is particularly the case for Nintendo for its Switch game console, most audio headsets and manufacturers of Android smartphones. On the other hand, the American giant Apple opposed the implementation of this measure.

The apple brand will be the most affected since these iPhones still have a Lightning port. Apple had also spoken in 2020 to explain that this regulation was going to « chokes[r] innovation rather than encouraging it, and harming[re] to consumers in Europe”. While iPhone 14s will continue to feature a Lightning connector, Apple will have to comply with the EU decision. This could evolve in 2023 with the iPhone 15; even if rumors evoke the arrival of an iPhone without a port, in order to circumvent this regulation.

For his part, the rapporteur Alex Aigius Saliba welcomes this decision: “Today we have made the universal charger a reality in Europe! Consumers will no longer have to purchase a charger with each new mobile device. We’re proud that laptops, e-readers, headsets, keyboards, computer mice and portable navigation devices are also included. »

The European Parliament has also decided toharmonize charging speed for devices that allow fast charging. This means that users will be able to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger. Concretely, you can use a Xiaomi or Samsung charger with a device from another brand like Oppo without any limitation.

Alex Aigius Saliba also mentions the addition of “provisions on wireless charging”. He assures that he “this is the next evolution in charging technology”. Finally, we learn that we will now have “clear information on the charging characteristics of new devices”. They will make it easier to check if current chargers are compatible. Finally, buyers can choose to buy new electronic equipment with or without a charging device.

Less waste for the planet

According to the European Parliament, these new obligations “will lead to greater reuse of chargers”. They will help consumers to save up to 250 million euros per year on unnecessary purchases of chargers. Discarded and unused magazines are also estimated to represent around 11,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year.

From now on, the Parliament and the Council will have to formally approve the agreement before its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. Discussions will take place “after summer vacation” ; and the text will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal. Note that the new rules will not apply to products placed on the market before the application date.

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