All phones and other small and medium-sized devices in the EU will be connected to USB-C chargers by 2024 under an EU agreement.

Everyone knows what it's like to have a low phone battery and no charger nearby. Europe plans to make all small- and medium-sized devices use the same phone charger to make life easier for consumers and reduce electronic waste. 

A universal charger will be placed on smartphones by the European Union. Switching to USB-C would be a blow to Apple, one of the world's leading tech brands. According to Thursday's proposal from the European Commission, USB-C cables would be mandated across the bloc as the unified standard for charging technology. 

In this proposal, Apple and the EU are likely to clash, since Apple has so far resisted all efforts to impose a one-size-fits-all charger.

Why is the EU pushing for it?

It has long been a goal of the EU to make charging for data-enabled phones standard. In Brussels, the three charging options available at present are deemed inconvenient. 

Margrethe Vestager, the EU's Executive Vice President, said, "Consumers in Europe have worn out their patience long enough with chargers that are incompatible." 

The time for legislative action for a common charger is in the ripeness, she said. "We gave industry plenty of time to develop its own solutions."

Most other smartphone makers use micro USB chargers, while Apple uses Lightning chargers. Having said that, the EU's preferred option would be USB-C chargers, since they are increasingly being used.

We are putting an end to that," said the EU's internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton. With an increasing number of devices, more and more chargers are sold that aren't interchangeable or not necessary.

In a country that has 450 million people, the introduction of a USB-C cable standard could have a substantial effect on the global smartphone market.

Will Apple be making any changes?

Some of Apple's iPads and laptops come with USB-C connectors, however, the company believes that legislation to force universal chargers on all mobile devices in the EU is unnecessary. 

The company remains concerned about stifling innovation through the mandatory use of just one kind of connector, which it believes will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.

From 2009, there were more than a dozen chargers. The current range is a great deal simpler. There was a big reduction in cable types due to a voluntary agreement reached by the European Commission and the device industry. This agreement has been rejected by Apple.

Smartphone makers would be given a 24-month transition period to conform to the latest proposal before ratification, which could still be significantly altered.


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