EU Parliament approves common charging cable for portable devices

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Members of the European Parliament passed a law requiring all new portable devices in the small and medium portable electronics category to use the same type of charging cable known as USB-C.

Affected devices include mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, mice and keyboards, GPS (global positioning system) devices, headphones, headsets and earphones, digital cameras, portable video game consoles and portable speakers,

All the above devices, including Apple’s iPhone and iPad, would have to use a USB-C charger from 2024, with laptop manufacturers having until 2026 to make the switch.

EU member states are expected to give their approval on 24 October before the rule enters into force in parliament after some 602 votes in favour, 13 against and eight abstentions.

However, because of its Brexit policy, the U.K. government has said that it is not currently considering a new law requiring a common charging cable. However, under the current post-Brexit arrangements, the new regulation could apply to Northern Ireland, which could lead to a divergence in product standards from the rest of the U.K.

Another opponent of the new rule is Apple, the leading manufacturer of smartphones that use a proprietary charging port known as a Lightning connector.

Since its introduction in September 2021, Apple has argued that strict regulation, which requires only one type of connector, stifles rather than encourages innovation, harming consumers in Europe and around the world.

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager tweeted in celebration of the new rule: “As of autumn 2024, the time we had to fight with many different chargers will start becoming a memory of old, strange times of unnecessary costs, waste and inconvenience.”

The sources for this piece include an article in BBC.


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