EU may force Apple to make iPhone battery replacements easier

Posted:
in iPhone
A future version of the iPhone or iPad may have a removable battery compartment, a leaked proposal from the European Union may demand, one that could force Apple into a major redesign of the high-selling smartphone, if it ever gets approved.




The modern-day iPhone, and other premium smartphones, offer consumers a thin construction and a sleek design, as well as waterproofing, all due to how the internal components are carefully assembled within the chassis. While the trend has led to harder-to-fix designs than those where the rear cover could be more easily removed, it seems the EU may be preparing for a return to such design ideas.

In proposals leaked to paywalled Dutch outlet Het Financieele Dagblad, the EU allegedly wants to make it easier to change the battery more easily replaceable in smartphones. By making it simpler to replace the battery, this will allegedly make smartphones more sustainable, enabling them to have a longer lifespan and generating less electronic waste.

Depending on how the proposals play out, the requirement to have a more easily replaceable battery could be a call to make it easier to repair a smartphone to put in a replacement for a dying battery. At its most extreme, it could take the form of making it a user-accessible component, which would necessitate a major rethink of modern design from every smartphone manufacturer.

The proposals are said to be presented by vice president of the European Commission's "Green Deal" Frans Timmermans in mid-March. The proposals are still being worked on, and are also likely to include other sustainability-related measures, including changes to product recycling regulations.

While only a leaked proposal of questionable provenance at this time, such a demand may take many years before it becomes a law, due to the relatively slow nature of continent-wide rule-making. Such rules will also only truly apply within the European Union, leaving open the possibility of an EU-specific smartphone design and one for the rest of the world, though the extra expense could see some pushback from device vendors.

The European Union has already one set of regulatory changes on the cards that may affect future smartphone usage. The European Commission voted in January to establish a common charging standard for devices, a move that may force Apple to shift away from Lightning to another connection type, however neither a timeframe nor plan has been established for the measure.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 62
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,038member
    It started with the mandated charger port. Like we didn't see this coming. Once bureaucrats get their hands on something it's all over. Can you imagine what an iPhone or Samsung phone will look like when its design has been mandated by a government bureaucracy. Next up, a physical keyboard (because you can't conduct business with a touch screen keyboard, just like Steve Balmer predicted). /s Remember those before-and-after smartphone pictures when the iPhone was released? Talk about a retrograde!

    Am I being hysterical? Maybe, but trust me, bureaucrats know no boundaries when they are "serving the people". 
    edited February 2020 doozydozenSnickersMagoomike1anantksundaramgeorgie01JanNLjdb8167olsjony0pscooter63
  • Reply 2 of 62
    seanjseanj Posts: 298member
    Eurocrats are the worst on the planet, interfering in what kind of lightbulb you can buy, how powerful your vacuum is, kettles, Internet memes, etc, the list is endless.
    The need to justify their expensive existence by constantly passing new regulations...

    Thank god the U.K. escaped!
    doozydozenSnickersMagooanantksundaramgeorgie01JanNLjony0marklarkelijahgentropyslukei
  • Reply 3 of 62
    If this does happen it will affect the whole industry, not just Apple. I haven’t seen a mobile device with a user-replaceable battery in a long time. 

    The miniaturization of components makes it difficult to make a battery that is user replaceable without affecting the size and liquid resistance of the device. 
    olsllamaargonaut
  • Reply 4 of 62
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,036member
    seanj said:
    Eurocrats are the worst on the planet, interfering in what kind of lightbulb you can buy, how powerful your vacuum is, kettles, Internet memes, etc, the list is endless.
    The need to justify their expensive existence by constantly passing new regulations...

    Thank god the U.K. escaped!
    That is because consumers are not smart enough to make their own decision, This is what happens when government continually tell people, companies are bad governments are good. The bureaucrats are smart enough not come right out and tell consumers they are stupid they convince them in other ways.

    The EU will now design by committee products for consumers. Like this will not end badly. This is what happen when people rely on the government for everything.
    edited February 2020 doozydozenSnickersMagooanantksundaramgeorgie01JWSCentropys
  • Reply 5 of 62
    The EU is now almost as bad as California.
    doozydozenanantksundarammarklark
  • Reply 6 of 62
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    The EU is a tech engineer now?
    doozydozenJWSC
  • Reply 7 of 62
    The EU is now almost as bad as California.
    Since Apple keep marking their products with "made by Apple in California" it should be a good match!  :)
    doozydozenJWSC
  • Reply 8 of 62
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,841member
    seanj said:
    Eurocrats are the worst on the planet, interfering in what kind of lightbulb you can buy, how powerful your vacuum is, kettles,
    All examples of worthwhile and extremely positive initiatives. The vacuum thing in particular! They legislated that vacuums should be sold on the basis of how well they suck things up, not on how much energy they consume! This is just a no-brainer with no downside.
    Internet memes
    I may have missed this one. To what are you referring?

    Now, onto the specific issue at hand - if they force user-replaceable batteries that will be a disaster. However, enforcing some kind of cost cap on battery replacement, and a minimum number of years that manufacturers have to offer a replacement battery service for any given model - these would be good things.
    edited February 2020 mknelsonsidricthevikingprismaticsAMcKinlay21muthuk_vanalingamIreneWswat671argonaut
  • Reply 9 of 62
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,339member
    This would be a good move. Glue and sealants aren't truly necessary today. They never really were.

    Far more devices will require a battery replacement than will require repair from sitting in water for a few seconds.

    Splash resistance is all that is needed and that doesn't require the same kind of engineering although waterproofing nano coatings have been available for years for phone components anyway.

    If Apple felt an external battery inside a phone case was acceptable from a design and usage perspective, then a couple of millimetres is not going to be an issue in that sense.

    It will also put an end to having to remove the screen to get at the battery which is a potential breakage point.

    The external battery case option could even be taken to an extreme and made the sole main power option, allowing for ultra thin phones with no onboard main battery power and allowing users to choose from different power capacities, charging speeds and physical sizes/weights.
    MplsPprismaticsdavgregmuthuk_vanalingamswat671darkvader
  • Reply 10 of 62
    Since everyone with a iPhone has a built in iPod....why would anyone need a separate device? Seems like a waste to me...
    avon b7 said:
    This would be a good move. Glue and sealants aren't truly necessary today. They never really were.

    Far more devices will require a battery replacement than will require repair from sitting in water for a few seconds.

    Splash resistance is all that is needed and that doesn't require the same kind of engineering although waterproofing nano coatings have been available for years for phone components anyway.

    If Apple felt an external battery inside a phone case was acceptable from a design and usage perspective, then a couple of millimetres is not going to be an issue in that sense.

    It will also put an end to having to remove the screen to get at the battery which is a potential breakage point.

    The external battery case option could even be taken to an extreme and made the sole main power option, allowing for ultra thin phones with no onboard main battery power and allowing users to choose from different power capacities, charging speeds and physical sizes/weights.
    You're an idiot!
    mike1anantksundaramDogpersonJanNLjdb8167pscooter63redraider11JWSClkruppmacgui
  • Reply 11 of 62
    DUMB. It’s already stupidly easy to replace an iPhone battery. Stop by your local Apple Store or ASP and they will have it done in 1 hour for $49 USD. Plus, batteries tend to last for 2 years which matches the duration you can expect OS updates for an Android. If you cannot get security updates to protect your privacy what’s the point of repairing the device? Fix that, you Eurocrat dufuses.  
    StrangeDaysjdb8167
  • Reply 12 of 62
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,024member
    Ahh, Product design by committee of the worst sort. Politicians trying to justify they're own existence.
    DogpersondoozydozenJWSCllama
  • Reply 13 of 62
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,214member
    lkrupp said:
    . Can you imagine what an iPhone or Samsung phone will look like when its design has been mandated by a government bureaucracy. 
    Yes. Remember the brick phone? The satchel phone? Put a touch screen on one of those and there you are.
  • Reply 14 of 62
    fred1fred1 Posts: 985member
    mr. h said:
    seanj said:
    Eurocrats are the worst on the planet, interfering in what kind of lightbulb you can buy, how powerful your vacuum is, kettles,
    All examples of worthwhile and extremely positive initiatives. The vacuum thing in particular! They legislated that vacuums should be sold on the basis of how well they suck things up, not on how much energy they consume! This is just a no-brainer with no downside.
    Internet memes
    I may have missed this one. To what are you referring?

    Now, onto the specific issue at hand - if they force user-replaceable batteries that will be a disaster. However, enforcing some kind of cost cap on battery replacement, and a minimum number of years that manufacturers have to offer a replacement battery service for any given model - these would be good things.
    Thank you for your comments. It’s nice to see at least one sensible reaction in the midst of this excuse for euro-bashing. Why is it that every time the EU is mentioned in AI, people rush to post their criticisms? Is the US government really that much better? Or the Canadian, or the Chinese, or any other!
    StrangeDayssidricthevikingMplsPargonaut
  • Reply 15 of 62
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,036member
    avon b7 said:
    This would be a good move. Glue and sealants aren't truly necessary today. They never really were.

    Far more devices will require a battery replacement than will require repair from sitting in water for a few seconds.

    Splash resistance is all that is needed and that doesn't require the same kind of engineering although waterproofing nano coatings have been available for years for phone components anyway.

    If Apple felt an external battery inside a phone case was acceptable from a design and usage perspective, then a couple of millimetres is not going to be an issue in that sense.

    It will also put an end to having to remove the screen to get at the battery which is a potential breakage point.

    The external battery case option could even be taken to an extreme and made the sole main power option, allowing for ultra thin phones with no onboard main battery power and allowing users to choose from different power capacities, charging speeds and physical sizes/weights.
    Have you ever design and sold a product? 

    No that I would not like easily replaced battery as I had on all my older Motorola phones. They would mostly removeable since they did more than a 1/2 day. Replacing a Battery on an iPhone is not that hard. I have done it a number of times for various family members after the phone was 3+ yrs old. After you do it a few times it is fairly quick.  For the most part the phone last most of the day on a single charge and when it does not charging it not that difficult.

    Making it changeable will cost more than a few millimeters. and there are other issue you have to worry about. 
    StrangeDaysJWSC
  • Reply 16 of 62
    Here we go again...
    doozydozenSpamSandwich
  • Reply 17 of 62
    seanj said:

    Thank god the U.K. escaped!
    Given all that's happening out there, UK's not getting into the Schengen Agreement seems like a genius move.
    elijahg
  • Reply 18 of 62
    avon b7 said:
    This would be a good move. Glue and sealants aren't truly necessary today. They never really were.

    Far more devices will require a battery replacement than will require repair from sitting in water for a few seconds.

    Splash resistance is all that is needed and that doesn't require the same kind of engineering although waterproofing nano coatings have been available for years for phone components anyway.

    If Apple felt an external battery inside a phone case was acceptable from a design and usage perspective, then a couple of millimetres is not going to be an issue in that sense.

    It will also put an end to having to remove the screen to get at the battery which is a potential breakage point.

    The external battery case option could even be taken to an extreme and made the sole main power option, allowing for ultra thin phones with no onboard main battery power and allowing users to choose from different power capacities, charging speeds and physical sizes/weights.
    Actually that’s a really good point: make a phone with no battery but that would be wirelessly powered from the case. When the time comes to change the battery, change the case. We could even have several cases to swap along the day(s) if necessary. From an engineering standpoint I’m however not sure wireless would provide enough power, nor would be efficient enough.
  • Reply 19 of 62
    Raise your hand if you’ve thrown away disposable/removable batteries.  I have. I know they’re toxic as hell, but finding out where they should go isn’t easy or convenient.  

    You know what battery I didn’t throw away? The one in my iPhone when I got it replaced at the Apple Store.

    Green? Is there anyone more stupid than a bureaucrats...

    P.S
    I really would like to ensure batteries are disposable of /recycled properly... any place that sells electronics should accept them.  That would be 1000% better than their proposal.
    StrangeDaysmr. hjdb8167lghulmJWSCDogperson
  • Reply 20 of 62
    maestro64 said:
    seanj said:
    Eurocrats are the worst on the planet, interfering in what kind of lightbulb you can buy, how powerful your vacuum is, kettles, Internet memes, etc, the list is endless.
    The need to justify their expensive existence by constantly passing new regulations...

    Thank god the U.K. escaped!
    That is because consumers are not smart enough to make their own decision, This is what happens when government continually tell people, companies are bad governments are good. The bureaucrats are smart enough not come right out and tell consumers they are stupid they convince them in other ways.

    The EU will now design by committee products for consumers. Like this will not end badly. This is what happen when people rely on the government for everything.
    Can you link us to a press release where a government says that?
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