Single Mobile Charging Port, A Blow To Apple, Samsung

USB Type-C will become the common charging port for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras in the EU by 2024

In a world first, EU governments and parliament agreed on Tuesday to a single charging port for mobile phones, tablets and cameras, requiring Apple (AAPL.O) to modify the connector on iPhones sold in Europe by 2024.

After companies failed to achieve a single solution, the European Commission intervened, claiming that it would make life easier for customers and save them money.

For more than a decade, Brussels has pushed for a single mobile charging connector, sparked by concerns from iPhone and Android users about having to switch between multiple chargers for their smartphones.

iPhones use Lightning cables to charge, while Android smartphones use USB-C connectors.

The company, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, had earlier warned that the proposal would hurt innovation and create a mountain of electronics waste.

Shares Up Despite Charging Port News

Despite that, its shares were up 0.9% in morning trade in New York.

The move could become a sales driver for Apple in 2024, analysts said, encouraging more Europeans to buy the latest gadgets instead of ones without USB-C.

It could persuade consumers to upgrade to a new phone sooner, said CFRA Research analyst Angelo Zino.

“Existing consumers can still use the Lightning cable, but maybe there would be less purchases of older products on third-party platforms,” he said.

When Apple releases new iPhones, the older generation phones are usually discounted, leading to millions of customers opting for the cheaper variants.

If the EU prohibits the sale of older models, it risks upsetting many consumers and the government would be forcing consumers to shell out more, said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager at research firm IDC.

Half the chargers sold with mobile phones in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector while 29% had a USB-C connector and 21% a Lightning connector, a 2019 Commission study showed.

“By autumn 2024, USB Type-C will become the common charging port for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras in the EU,” the European Parliament said in a statement.

Change equals savings

EU industry chief Thierry Breton said the deal would save about 250 million euros ($267 million) for consumers.

“It will also allow new technologies, such as wireless charging, to emerge and to mature without letting innovation become a source of market fragmentation and consumer inconvenience,” he said.

Laptops will have to comply with the legislation within 40 months of it coming into force. The EU executive will have the power in future to harmonise wireless charging systems.

That the deal also covers e-readers, earbuds and other technologies means it will also have an impact on Samsung, Huawei and other device makers, analysts said.

“We are proud that laptops, e-readers, earbuds, keyboards, computer mice and portable navigation devices are also included,” said lawmaker Alex Agius Saliba, who steered the debate at the European Parliament. – Reuters

Notes: USD1 = 0.9364 euros

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