Recently the EU has provisionally agreed that all new portable electronic devices must, by autumn 2024, use a USB-C type charger in a move that they say will benefit consumers.
That being said, there are critics who are of the opinion that this change would stifle innovation.
According to a December 2021 parliamentary report, the new requirements would apply to Northern Ireland but not the UK due to the current Brexit agreement. This is because the treaty keeps Northern Ireland inside the EU single market whilst the rest of the UK is outside of it. Whilst the UK isn’t considering implementing the change, the thinking appears to be that it would be cheaper and easier for companies to just have a standardised USB-C design across Europe as opposed to creating UK specific models.
Apple have been one of the most outspoken critics of this change and back in 2021 they claimed 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”.
If the change is to go ahead it would make their custom Lightning connector effectively obsolete within the EU.
The change would cover a range of devices including but not limited to mobile phones, tablets, headphones and headsets, handheld video game consoles, and portable speakers. Laptops will also be included but these will be given a 40 month grace period after the change comes into effect to make changes.
Also said to be included is a plan to allow customers to decide whether they need new charging equipment or not when purchasing a device in a push to reduce electronic waste and to make consumer’s lives easier.
It’s projected that these changes would save up £213m per year and cut down 11,000 tonnes of waste per year.