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EU moves ahead with plans to standardize phone chargers by 2024

About one in five phones in Europe use Apple's Lightning port, shown here on the left, while the rest use a version of USB, two versions of which are shown at centre and on the right. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

About one in five phones in Europe use Apple's Lightning port, shown here on the left, while the rest use a version of USB, two versions of which are shown at centre and on the right.

Photo: (Craig Chivers/CBC)

RCI

Move will impact Apple most of all, as tech giant rejects USB in favour of its own style

The European Parliament approved new rules on Tuesday that will introduce a single charging port for mobile phones, tablets and cameras in the EU by 2024, a world first that is expected to affect iPhone maker Apple more than its rivals.

The vote confirms an earlier agreement among EU institutions and will make USB-C connectors used by Android-based devices the EU standard, forcing Apple to change its charging port for iPhones and other devices.

Among big providers of electronic devices to European customers, Apple is expected to be among the most affected, but analysts also expect a possible positive impact, because it could encourage shoppers to buy the company's latest gadgets instead of ones without USB-C.

The deal also covers e-readers, ear buds and other technologies, meaning it may also have an impact on Samsung, Huawei and other device makers, analysts said.

Apple, Samsung and Huawei were not immediately available for comments.

Massive support from lawmakers

Apple has in the past warned that the proposal would hurt innovation and create a mountain of electronic waste.

EU lawmakers supported the reform with a large majority, with 602 votes in favour and only 13 against.

    The change had been discussed for years and was prompted by complaints from iPhone and Android users about having to switch to different chargers for their devices.

    The European Commission has estimated that the single charger would save consumers about $250 million US.

    Half the chargers sold with mobile phones in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector, while 29 per cent had a USB-C connector and 21 per cent a Lightning connector, which is used by Apple, a 2019 Commission study showed.

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