EU goes to war with Apple: Brussels plans to have one EU-wide charger for mobile phones

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The move will essentially prevent iPhone maker Apple from producing exclusive cables for its devices sold within the EU. Products powered by Google’s Android platform will be less impacted because they already use universal chargers, such as the USB-C connection. Around half of the mobile phones sold in the EU in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector, 29 percent had USB-C and 21 percent with Apple’s Lightning cable.

Brussels has been pushing for a common charger for more than a decade as it seeks to enlarge its single market rulebook.

The EU’s executive is now expected to publish draft legislation next month to turn its dream into reality, according to the Euractiv news website.

Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Nokia signed an agreement in 2011 to harmonise the types of chargers introduced to the market.

But efforts to actually reform the EU-based market seemingly failed with a flopped resolution in 2018.

Apple has warned that the bloc’s push for a single charger would hurt innovation and create a mountain of electronic waste when there are demands for greener policies.

The Silicon Valley giant also claimed legislation was unnecessary as the industry has already take significant steps to move towards a USB-C charger.

It argued the reform would “freeze innovation rather than encourage it” and render millions of Europeans’ devices obsolete, creating an “unprecedented volume of electronic waste”.

Apple as the main opponent to the changes charge up to £35 each for their charging cables.

MEPs have already voted overwhelmingly in support for proposals for a common charger.

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Polling on behalf of the EU Commission found that 84 percent of people in the bloc had problems with chargers that did not work with their phones or were confusing.

The research showed that the average 18 to 24-year-old in the EU had at least four chargers.

But some had acquired up to 25 different cables.

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In a report published by the Commission in 2019 claimed different chargers cause about 12,000 tonnes of waste across the EU each year.

Eurocrats suggested there could be five options for a common charger, three of which concerned the connectors at the device end and the other two the external power supply.

Brussels may also show support for the introduction of more universal chargers for electronic devices.

This means wireless headphones, and cordless drills and vacuum cleaners could all be impacted by the changes.

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