iPhone with USB-C port:  EU presses on with pointless law

By Ben Lovejoy

August 13, 2021

EU regulators plan to study whether there is a need for action in the push for a common mobile phone charger following a lack of progress by phone makers towards this goal, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said. The European Commission has been pushing for a common charger for nearly a decade as it cited the more than 51,000 tons of electronic waste yearly from old chargers as well as the inconvenience to consumers.

 The European Commission will next month present legislation to establish a common charger for mobile phones and other electronic devices within the 27-nation bloc, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The move will affect iPhone maker Apple more than its rivals. IPhones and most of Apple’s products are powered by its Lightning cable, whereas Android devices are powered by USB-C connectors.

Assuming the law is finally passed, and it does adopt USB-C as the standard, it won’t come into effect immediately. Manufacturers plan their new products sometimes years in advance, so they will need to be given an appropriate notice period before the law becomes binding. That period will be measured in years.

By which time, one of two things will have happened in Cupertino. Either Apple will already have adopted USB-C, just as it did with the iPad Pro, or it will have moved to the position we all expect it to reach eventually: a port-free iPhone which supports only wireless charging. Either way, a European charger standard will be completely irrelevant by the time it comes into effect.