According to a provisional European Union accord on Tuesday, all smartphones and tablets must use the same charger.

Negotiators said that the plan would compel all companies, including Apple Inc., to use the USB-C charger in phones, tablets, e-readers, and digital cameras. The scope includes over 15 different product kinds, including headsets, video gaming consoles, and headphones.

According to the European Commission, the plan, which was announced last year will save customers an estimated 250 million EUR (267 million USD) each year. The accord must be approved by the European Parliament and 27 EU countries.

By 2024, phone and tablet manufacturers will have to comply. Laptop manufacturers will have extra time to transition, with negotiators granting them 40 months after the new rules take effect.

The New Rule

In a statement, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said, “A standard charger is a common sense for the myriad electronic devices in our everyday life.”

“European customers should be able to charge all of their portable electronics with a single charger, which is a significant step toward increasing convenience and reducing waste,” added Breton.

Apple was initially outraged by the plan, claiming that it would stifle innovation. However, Apple is presently testing future iPhone models that will forgo the Lightning charging port in favor of the more widely used USB-C connector. The USB-C charger is already in use on current Apple laptop models.

Alex Agius Saliba, the senior negotiator for the European Parliament, said that the commission will be able to set norms for wireless charging in the future since the EU does not wish to “end up in a spot where we would be legislating for a market that is effectively dying out.”

The Significance

According to the European Commission, a universal charging port would save customers 267 million USD each year. It may also help minimize the 50 million tonnes of electronic garbage produced annually throughout the world, including 11,000 tonnes of cables and charging ports alone. It is the same as tossing away 1000 laptops every second. In some areas, the amount of e-waste will climb by 500% in the upcoming years.

Consumers will profit from the increased device interoperability, which will reduce the cost of switching between gadgets that would otherwise operate in a walled garden.

Those devices that profited from a large moat may be easier to replace in the future. However, the law could have unexpected consequences. It may even aid larger digital giants in consolidating their hold on EU consumers. Apple and Microsoft, at least in the field of laptops, can rapidly comply with the new requirement. Smaller producers, on the other hand, may find the pivot difficult. By 2026, all phones, tablets, and laptops will be forced to utilize USB-C port chargers, regardless of who sells them.

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