EU accepts single mobile charging port in blow for Apple

  • Apple has until 2024 to make changes
  • The company said the change would hurt innovation
  • Apple could boost sales by selling newer phones

BRUSSELS, June 7 (Reuters) – Apple (AAPL.O) must change the connector for iPhones sold in Europe by 2024 after EU countries and lawmakers on Tuesday agreed on a single charging port for cellphones, tablets and cameras in a world premiere.

The political intervention, which the European Commission said would make life easier for consumers and save them money, came after companies failed to find a common solution.

Brussels has been pushing for a single mobile charging port for more than a decade, following complaints from iPhone and Android users about having to switch to different chargers for their devices.

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iPhones are charged from a Lightning cable, while Android-based devices use USB-C connectors.

The company, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, had previously warned that the proposal would hurt innovation and create a mountain of e-waste.

Despite that, its shares rose 0.9% in morning trading in New York.

The move could become a sales driver for Apple in 2024, analysts say, encouraging more Europeans to buy the latest gadgets instead of those without USB-C.

That could persuade consumers to upgrade to a new phone sooner, said CFRA Research analyst Angelo Zino.

“Existing consumers can still use the Lightning cable, but there might be fewer purchases of older products on third-party platforms,” ​​he said.

Apple is already working on an iPhone with a USB-C charging port that could debut next year, Bloomberg reported last month.

IPhone 12 phones are seen at the new Apple Store on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 24, 2021. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

When Apple releases new iPhones, older generation phones are usually discounted, leading millions of customers to opt for the cheaper variants.

If the EU bans the sale of older models, it is likely to upset many consumers and the government would force consumers to shell out more, said Jitesh Ubrani, research director at research firm IDC.

Half of the chargers sold with mobile phones in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector while 29% had a USB-C connector and 21% a Lightning connector, according to a 2019 Commission study.

“By autumn 2024, USB Type-C will become the common charging port for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras in the EU,” the European Parliament said in a statement.

European industry chief Thierry Breton said the deal would save consumers about 250 million euros ($267 million).

“It will also allow new technologies, such as wireless charging, to emerge and mature without letting innovation become a source of market fragmentation and consumer inconvenience,” he said.

Laptops will have to comply with the legislation within 40 months of its entry into force. The EU executive will in future have the power to harmonize wireless charging systems.

The fact that the deal also covers e-readers, headphones and other tech means it will also impact Samsung (005930.KS)Huawei (HWT.UL) and other device makers, analysts said.

“We are proud that laptops, e-readers, headphones, keyboards, computer mice and portable navigation devices are also included,” said lawmaker Alex Agius Saliba, who led the debate in the European Parliament. .

($1 = 0.9364 euros)

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Reporting by Foo Yun Chee in Brussels; Additional reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm and Eva Mathews in Bangalore Editing by Louise Heavens, Matt Scuffham, Mark Potter and David Goodman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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