The European Parliament is moving forward with its push for a standardized connector for all smartphones. TechCrunch reports that the parliament is requesting the European Commission to adopt “beefed-up” rules by July. This comes after Apple publicly spoke out against this idea just one week ago.
The resolution was approved by 582 votes to 40 votes on Thursday. The gist of the argument is that members of parliament have been pushing for a standardized connector for over a decade, and it’s now “an urgent need” for regulatory action to finally occur. Such regulatory action would reduce electronic waste and allow EU citizens to “fully participate in an efficient and well-functioning internal market,” MEPs argue.
Last week, Apple responded to the EU efforts to enforce a standardized single connector for smartphones, saying that “regulation that forces conformity across the type of connector stifles innovation.” Apple also argued that a common connector would inconvenience consumers, as well as cause massive amounts of electronic waste due to iPhone users having to ditch their existing Lightning cables, dongles, and accessories. This is a direct counterpoint to the argument that a standard connector would reduce e-waste.
Parliament took direct aim at Apple’s claim that a standard charger would stifle innovation:
The Commission, without hampering innovation, should ensure that the legislative framework for a common charger will be scrutinised regularly in order to take into account technical progress; reiterates the importance of research and innovation in this domain to improve existing technologies and come up with new ones.
Parliament is also requesting that the European Commission focus on wireless charging as well, to ensure interoperability and that wireless chargers aren’t restricted to one brand or device type.
The resolution ultimately says that consumers should not be required to buy new chargers with every new device. Of course, iPhone owners haven’t had to buy new chargers since Apple made the switch to Lightning with the iPhone 5 in 2012. Nonetheless, with most Android phones moving towards USB-C, it’s clear that Apple is the target of the EU efforts.
Apple switched the iPad Pro to USB-C in 2018, and the MacBook Pro in 2016, but the iPhone still uses the proprietary Lightning connector. A recent report from Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple could remove the connector from the iPhone altogether by as early as 2021.
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