Apple may be forced to ditch its lightning cable as European Commission presses for universal charger

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaEdited By: Bharat SharmaUpdated: Jan 19, 2020, 12:28 PM IST


Story highlights

The European Commission has been pushing for a single charging method for the last ten years

The European Commission is planning to introduce a law that would force Apple to abandon its Lightning connector cable. 

The cable is primarily used to sync Apple devices, including iPhones.

Members of the European Parliament requested the European Commission to force tech companies to adopt a universal charging method, BBC reported.

Two other kinds of cables do the rounds in the market are the USB-C and micro-USB, primarily used on Android devices.

Apple recently dropped the Lightning cable from its 2018 model of the iPad Pro.

According to Apple, this move would hurt innovation and cause disruption to consumers. 

Image: Charging cables | Twitter user @GishShopping

"A common charger should fit all mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers and other portable devices", European Parliament member Alex Agius Saliba.

If and when approved, the regulation would require Apple to remodel all its phones to favour a single universal charging method.

Apple has already embraced the USB-C on its iPad Pro, and the company might be forced to take up in future devices if the European Commission approves the move.

There's another option for the company: to eradicate charging ports and cables altogether and to switch to wireless charging. 

If enforced, the new cable would mark Apple's third in 13 years.

The move is not new, The European Commission has been pushing for a single charging method for the last ten years.

In 2009, there were more than 30 types of chargers in the market, but the number now stands at three.

With this regulation, the EU wants to decrease the electronic waste which is created by old cables. According to the BBC, it generates more than 51,000 tonnes of waste every year.

Image: Apple logo | Reuters

"This is hugely detrimental for the environment," Saliba added.

In 2009, ten tech giants including Nokia, Samsung, and Apple had signed a memorandum of understanding to provide micro-USB compatible chargers for consumers.

However, there was a loophole that enabled manufacturers to continue using their own chargers if they offered an adaptor.

As part of its efforts in 2014, the EU passed the Radio Equipment Directive, calling for "renewed effort to develop a common charger".

It was then that Apple insisted that its slimmer phones would not be able to accommodate the USB-C technology, and said that it would cost up to $2 billion to meet the desired standard.

The technology landscape has witnessed a lot of change recently, with most giants focusing on wireless charging technology.

According to many analysts, Apple is planning to scrap charging ports altogether by relying solely on wireless charging.