EU proposing USB-C smartphone charger standard

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 23
The European Commission has proposed legislation that would require USB-C to become the standard charging port for all mobile devices, which would require Apple to migrate to it as a standard on the iPhone within two years of enactment.

Lightning port on an iPhone
Lightning port on an iPhone


As expected, the EU has presented a legislative proposal for a common charger, which could potentially mean Apple having to replace its iPhone Lightning port with USB-C.

The Radio Equipment Directive also proposes that chargers be "unbundled" from sales of devices, and that manufacturers would no longer be able to "unjustifiably" limit charging speeds.

"European consumers were frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers," said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, in a statement.

"We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger," she continued. "This is an important win for our consumers and environment and in line with our green and digital ambitions."

In the same statement, commissioner Thierry Breton, responsible for the Internal Market, said that the proposal is about "putting an end" to unnecessary and non-interchangeable chargers.

With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics," he said, "an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste."

The new proposed legislation will next have to be adopted by the European Parliament before it becomes law. If it is, then there will follow a transition period of 24 months, which "will give industry ample time to adapt."

"We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world," Apple said in a statement about the matter.

Apple has already adopted USB-C on devices such as the new iPad mini 6, but its iPhone 13 range has continued to use Lightning. It's possible that Apple may move to USB-C for future iPhones, but equally it is rumored to be looking to use wireless charging to allow for a port-less iPhone.

The EU has done this once before. It mandated micro USB as a charging standard just a bit less than a decade ago. Apple side-stepped that mandate by supplying a micro USB to Lightning adapter. It's not clear what the EU will propose when a new physical connector, superseding USB-C is released.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 74
    This should have been proposed when USB-C was new, so we would have forgotten about the Micros, Minis and Lightnings altogether by now.

    I didn’t read the proposal. Does it state to use USB-PD?

    The “stifles innovation” is probably because Apple, if enacted like that, wouldn’t be able to make an iPhone 16 of which the only change is USB-C instead of lightning and sell this as innovation? (Just kidding.)
    edited September 23
  • Reply 2 of 74
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,633member
    Great. Talk about stifling innovation. What happens when the next generation of USB or Thunderbolt or something brand new comes along. How long will it take the EU bureaucrats to legislate the next charging protocol? As for innovation why would tech company engineers even make the effort to improve charging when they’re staring years of bureaucratic morass in the face to get the new system ‘approved’?

    So the EU has now declared that USB-C is the be-all, end-all of ports. New, advanced technology need not apply. So let it be written, so let it be done.
    radarthekatgeorgie01Fidonet127mike1chiaFred257kipowskyericthehalfbeeentropysviclauyyc
  • Reply 3 of 74
    lkrupp said:
    Great. Talk about stifling innovation. What happens when the next generation of USB or Thunderbolt or something brand new comes along. How long will it take the EU bureaucrats to legislate the next charging protocol? As for innovation why would tech company engineers even make the effort to improve charging when they’re staring years of bureaucratic morass in the face to get the new system ‘approved’?

    So the EU has now declared that USB-C is the be-all, end-all of ports. New, advanced technology need not apply. So let it be written, so let it be done.
    Like the Lightning port is ‘innovation’ in 2021 🙄
    elijahgcuriousrun8williamlondonbala1234Mitty
  • Reply 4 of 74
     The Radio Equipment Directive also proposes that chargers be "unbundled" from sales of devices, and that manufacturers would no longer be able to "unjustifiably" limit charging speeds.”. 
    These over-officious imbeciles.  Yes they caught apple purposely limiting charging speeds to get a leg up on the competition.  It’s called prolonging battery life and increased consumer safety.  Sounds almost like Samsung is feeding them a big plate of 💩 and they gobbled it up and are asking for more.  I hope apple just puts a usbc adapter in the box and says “problem solved”.  Is the EU going to regulate the size of a sheet of toilet paper next? Or “wetness” of water?  This was more of an issue back in the 90’s when every manufacturer had multiple different proprietary charging ports.  Requiring an adapter is not a biggie, but trying to force them to change the actual port design is arrogance.  
    jas99baconstangviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 74
    Most new charging bricks already have a usb c input. Just use the cable that is included with your device. They are trying to solve a problem that already has a solution. 
    mike1retrogustoStrangeDaysentropyswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 74
    Absolutely ridiculous. In the 2+ years time before this would even come into force there might well be something that replaces USB-C. Legislating for time to stand still and to ban technology from moving forward is a ludicrous way of going about things.

    I wish Apple had moved to USB-C long ago. but I hope that they've moved to fully wireless before this comes into force just to make them look stupid.
    retrogustolkruppjas99viclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 74
    So the EU has now declared that USB-C is the be-all, end-all of ports. New, advanced technology need not apply.
    Like the Lightning port is ‘innovation’ in 2021 🙄
    Your attempt to feel clever bashing Apple has inadvertently proven the point.

    Connectors eventually become obsolete. By requiring a connector be standardised, which could very well become limiting by the time this EU mandate would become a requirement, it inherently becomes about holding technology back.

    I don’t want USBC or lightning to be a required port on my devices for the next however many years because who knows what technology will emerge. They’ve been fine so far, but that doesn’t mean they will continue to be for an artificially prescribed amount of time.
    Fidonet127mike1scstrrfjas99williamlondonviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 74
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,503member
    georgie01 said:
    So the EU has now declared that USB-C is the be-all, end-all of ports. New, advanced technology need not apply.
    Like the Lightning port is ‘innovation’ in 2021 ߙ䦬t;/div>
    Your attempt to feel clever bashing Apple has inadvertently proven the point.

    Connectors eventually become obsolete. By requiring a connector be standardised, which could very well become limiting by the time this EU mandate would become a requirement, it inherently becomes about holding technology back.

    I don’t want USBC or lightning to be a required port on my devices for the next however many years because who knows what technology will emerge. They’ve been fine so far, but that doesn’t mean they will continue to be for an artificially prescribed amount of time.
    Lightning's main issue at its inception was it had only two data lanes, which means it's limited to USB 2 speeds. There aren't any spare pins to add USB 3.0, therefore it wasn't very forward thinking: it was well known at the time we were hitting the limits for single-lane serial communications, USB 2.0 was 12 years old and USB 3 was just around the corner - released 6 months later. Apple is a USB-IF member so they knew for years before release they'd need more data lines to support USB 3. Just two more pins (even left as spare) would have enabled USB 3.0. USB-C also has the ability to reassign some of the data lines to transmit non-USB protocols - Lightning does do this but it's more limited (no thunderbolt or displayport over lightning for example)

    If this legalisation had a sunset clause in say 5 or 6 years it'd be more sensible, then it would get every manufacturer to switch and then would allow future innovations on USB-C. Of course proposing amendments like this are basically impossible because the EC isn't democratic, but I digress. I suspect C will be around for a very, very long time however. It's a really good connector. Forward thinking and well designed, it does at last seem at last we might get one connector for everything.
    edited September 23 scstrrf
  • Reply 9 of 74
    When they’re made obsolete, let’s all send our iPhone cables to Margrethe Vestager. I wonder if she realizes that otherwise we might have been able to continue to use them. 

    Also, given that this applies to various device types, including game consoles, are we to believe that phone chargers and PlayStation 6 power supplies must be interchangeable? So will the consoles be limited in power or will all chargers just draw a ton of energy? If they’re not interchangeable, what’s the point? Is it really just about one end of a wire?
    edited September 23 scstrrfwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 74
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,503member
    When they’re made obsolete, let’s all send our iPhone chargers to Margrethe Vestager. I wonder if she realizes that otherwise we might have been able to continue to use them. 

    Also, given that this applies to various device types, including game consoles, are we to believe that phone chargers and PlayStation 6 power supplies must be interchangeable? So will the consoles be limited in power or will all chargers just draw a ton of energy? If they’re not interchangeable, what’s the point?
    It does not include non-portable game consoles. "USB-C will become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld videogame consoles." Even if this was the case, a 65w power supply doesn't draw 65w when charging an iPhone at 15w, it draws about 16.5w.
    retrogusto
  • Reply 11 of 74
    I predict in two years the iPhone will have no charging port at all — wireless only.
    williamlondontmay
  • Reply 12 of 74
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,435member
    lkrupp said:
    Great. Talk about stifling innovation. What happens when the next generation of USB or Thunderbolt or something brand new comes along. How long will it take the EU bureaucrats to legislate the next charging protocol? As for innovation why would tech company engineers even make the effort to improve charging when they’re staring years of bureaucratic morass in the face to get the new system ‘approved’?

    So the EU has now declared that USB-C is the be-all, end-all of ports. New, advanced technology need not apply. So let it be written, so let it be done.
    Like the Lightning port is ‘innovation’ in 2021 🙄
    Except for charging purposes, the lightning port is still entirely sufficient and is in many ways better than USB C - it has a more positive lock when inserted and since USC C is a coaxial port, the center prong can get bent and makes it harder to clean debris out of the port. 
    tmaybaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 74
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,503member
    MplsP said:
    lkrupp said:
    Great. Talk about stifling innovation. What happens when the next generation of USB or Thunderbolt or something brand new comes along. How long will it take the EU bureaucrats to legislate the next charging protocol? As for innovation why would tech company engineers even make the effort to improve charging when they’re staring years of bureaucratic morass in the face to get the new system ‘approved’?

    So the EU has now declared that USB-C is the be-all, end-all of ports. New, advanced technology need not apply. So let it be written, so let it be done.
    Like the Lightning port is ‘innovation’ in 2021 ߙ䦬t;/div>
    Except for charging purposes, the lightning port is still entirely sufficient and is in many ways better than USB C - it has a more positive lock when inserted and since USC C is a coaxial port, the center prong can get bent and makes it harder to clean debris out of the port. 
    The friction fit is dependent on who manufactures the port and cable. I have had C ports so tight they've pulled the connector off the board...
    edited September 23
  • Reply 14 of 74
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,633member
    elijahg said:
    When they’re made obsolete, let’s all send our iPhone chargers to Margrethe Vestager. I wonder if she realizes that otherwise we might have been able to continue to use them. 

    Also, given that this applies to various device types, including game consoles, are we to believe that phone chargers and PlayStation 6 power supplies must be interchangeable? So will the consoles be limited in power or will all chargers just draw a ton of energy? If they’re not interchangeable, what’s the point?
    It does not include non-portable game consoles. "USB-C will become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld videogame consoles." Even if this was the case, a 65w power supply doesn't draw 65w when charging an iPhone at 15w, it draws about 16.5w.
    So the EU determines what standard is? How long until the EU declares Android the EU standard operating system and all manufactures must support it? Or a EU standard browser that every device must include, or a EU standard messaging app that conforms to EU regulations? Think that could never happen? You don’t know bureaucrats then, do you. It’s not about consumers, it’s about power and control, which is what government is all about.

    So Apple is forced to comply. And if Apple or another company comes up with something new and better they are prohibited from deploying it until they get approval. So Lightning may be past its prime. What happens when USB-C is past its prime? Do you really want bureaucrats dictating the development and use of technology?

    Yeah, I get it, the haters who have been pontificating about Lightning and USB-C, and want to see Apple taken down a notch, are probably pleasuring themselves over this. Wait until their favorite piece of tech is regulated out of existence by people who know nothing about tech.
    jas99baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 74
    fred1fred1 Posts: 851member
    OK, I’m confused; I’ll admit it. What about the charger itself? I saw a Samsung USB-C charger in a store today and it was rated at 25W. Aren’t Apple chargers either 18W or 20W? Does it make a difference?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 74
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,503member
    lkrupp said:
    elijahg said:
    When they’re made obsolete, let’s all send our iPhone chargers to Margrethe Vestager. I wonder if she realizes that otherwise we might have been able to continue to use them. 

    Also, given that this applies to various device types, including game consoles, are we to believe that phone chargers and PlayStation 6 power supplies must be interchangeable? So will the consoles be limited in power or will all chargers just draw a ton of energy? If they’re not interchangeable, what’s the point?
    It does not include non-portable game consoles. "USB-C will become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld videogame consoles." Even if this was the case, a 65w power supply doesn't draw 65w when charging an iPhone at 15w, it draws about 16.5w.
    So the EU determines what standard is? How long until the EU declares Android the EU standard operating system and all manufactures must support it? Or a EU standard browser that every device must include, or a EU standard messaging app that conforms to EU regulations? Think that could never happen? You don’t know bureaucrats then, do you. It’s not about consumers, it’s about power and control, which is what government is all about.

    So Apple is forced to comply. And if Apple or another company comes up with something new and better they are prohibited from deploying it until they get approval. So Lightning may be past its prime. What happens when USB-C is past its prime? Do you really want bureaucrats dictating the development and use of technology?

    Yeah, I get it, the haters who have been pontificating about Lightning and USB-C, and want to see Apple taken down a notch, are probably pleasuring themselves over this. Wait until their favorite piece of tech is regulated out of existence by people who know nothing about tech.
    Yes, that is what the EU does, which is why I said above it's undemocratic. Don't get me wrong, I don't think the EU should have anything to do with most of the things they like to weasel their way into. And as I said, a workaround for the inability to improve the port at a later date is a sunset clause in the legalisation, so that after say 5 years, potentially better ports can be used. 

    You realise Apple already uses USB-C exclusively on their Macs, most of their iPads, and the power supplies that they sell?

    I get it too, you along with the other blinkered fanboys think every single thing Apple does is for the customer, in 100% of cases. But I have news for you: it's not. Contemporary Apple is not the Apple of yore. It's not all about the customer anymore.
    edited September 23 baconstang
  • Reply 17 of 74
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,503member
    fred1 said:
    OK, I’m confused; I’ll admit it. What about the charger itself? I saw a Samsung USB-C charger in a store today and it was rated at 25W. Aren’t Apple chargers either 18W or 20W? Does it make a difference?
    The wattage can be anything from 2.5w upwards - Apple was still bundling 5w chargers with their iPhones right up until they stopped bundling chargers. Apple sells chargers at various wattages, up to 61w for the Macbooks. The device being charged will draw as much as the charger can supply, up to a limit defined per device being charged.
    dowhilestbaconstang
  • Reply 18 of 74

    In a few years, who knows but maybe wireless charging and connecting via Magsafe will be the only way to go for Apple. Should they then be forced to have a USB-C connector too? It is also not certain that USB-C will last forever and will EU dictate a new standard again? And again, and again? I think the EU should focus on real problems instead.

    edited September 23 tmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 74
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,112member
    MplsP said:
    lkrupp said:
    Great. Talk about stifling innovation. What happens when the next generation of USB or Thunderbolt or something brand new comes along. How long will it take the EU bureaucrats to legislate the next charging protocol? As for innovation why would tech company engineers even make the effort to improve charging when they’re staring years of bureaucratic morass in the face to get the new system ‘approved’?

    So the EU has now declared that USB-C is the be-all, end-all of ports. New, advanced technology need not apply. So let it be written, so let it be done.
    Like the Lightning port is ‘innovation’ in 2021 ߙ䦬t;/div>
    Except for charging purposes, the lightning port is still entirely sufficient and is in many ways better than USB C - it has a more positive lock when inserted and since USC C is a coaxial port, the center prong can get bent and makes it harder to clean debris out of the port. 
    I think YMMV either way on that, USB-C is a rock solid port for me on my MacBook Air, while all my lightning cables have a fair bit of wiggle in my iPhone.  I've also had to attempt to clean out the lightning port, with mixed results.

    As I understand it the flexible receptor pins are in the cable for USB, and in the port for lightning, and if they get bent or damaged you're likely to need a replacement.  You're more likely to bend a pin than the USB tongue, and it's easier to replace a cable that a whole port (especially in a MacBook).

    I don't think there's a definite winner either way, pros and cons on both sides, and you can get burnt with both.
    edited September 23 elijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 74
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,959member
    It is clear that none of the people criticising this proposal have even bothered to read the EU factsheet which can be clicked through on via the article.

    Almost all questions raised here are answered in the fachsheet, along with something else that seems to have gone over many people's heads. This proposal is not limited to smartphones.

    It is attempting to tackle a wider problem.

    There is a lot to like and once read, most people should be able to get their heads around why we reached this point. 
    muthuk_vanalingamcroprAlex_Vdowhilesttenthousandthings
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