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Apple hits back at EU charger proposals, says it would create "unprecedented volume" of waste

Chargers
Chargers (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has hit back at EU proposals to create a single charging port standard in tech.
  • Lawmakers have proposed mandating USB-C ports on smartphones to reduce waste.
  • Apple now says this will have the opposite effect, creating unprecedented amounts of electronic waste.

Apple has hit back at EU proposals to create a single charging port standard in tech to reduce waste.

Last week it emerged that the EU was moving towards mandating that all mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers and other portable devices feature a common charging standard. The move is reported to be in response to poor uptake on a 2014 suggestion, stating:

"The Commission's approach of "encouraging" industry to develop common chargers fell short of the co-legislators' objectives. The voluntary agreements between different industry players have not yielded the desired results,"

Now, Apple has hit back at the proposals, saying it would create unprecedented waste. According to The Sun:

Legislation would have a direct negative impact by disrupting the hundreds of millions of active devices and accessories used by our European customers and even more Apple customers worldwide, creating an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and greatly inconveniencing users," the firm said in a statement seen by The Sun."Prior to 2009, the Commission considered mandating that all smartphones use only USB Micro-B connectors which would have restricted the advancement to Lightning and USB Type-C," said Apple."Instead, the Commission established a voluntary, industry standards-based approach that saw the market shift from 30 chargers down to 3, soon to be two — Lightning and USB-C, showing this approach does work.Apple added that the industry is "already moving" to USB-C anyway – so setting a precedent of regulation isn't necessary.

Apple is indeed correct in that forcing a drastic, legislated switch to USB-C would render all of its Lightning-based hardware somewhat useless. It also seems to believe that as everyone is headed in the direction of USB-C, this kind of mandate isn't necessary.

Whilst no one can argue with efforts to reduce waste and make charging more convenient for everyone, we're not sure that this is the best way to do it.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.

7 Comments
  • Hey apple. You require dongles for everything else. Figure you would love this. Oh wait. It would cut into your gouging on lightning products. Right.
  • If Apple's dongles/cables are recyclable, then it wouldn't create waste. Apple's statement here is basically shooting themselves in the face because they're basically saying their cables aren't recyclable, or if they are then what Apple's saying is nonsensical. The EU's proposal is fantastic idea, and we need more governments correctly legislating technology, rather than letting the big tech companies abuse their power like they do now
  • I agree there should be a standard but I'm not sure legislating one is a good idea. Sure they mandate all devices use USB2 now. But then in ten years something vastly better comes out. But the law mandates USB-2. It will be hard to change. Invented in Taiwan, China would block it. Invented in the US, the EU, or at least one or more of their members would block it. It would be a huge block to innovation. I keep thinking if this had happened ten years ago it would have been USB 1.1. Ten years before that Serial. Ten years before that SCSI. And we would likely still be stuck with that as the only standard. International laws and standards are HARD to change.
  • That's a good point, if it was legislated it would have to be something that could be easily changed to adapt to a new standard on any new devices. The more important thing is that all phones are using the same type of cable, rather than using the same type of cable for a long period of time
  • Ooooo I like you in this post danny! You FINALLY disagree with apple. A new leaf turning over maybe? Or not? Just wondering. anyways. I am giving you a big fat LIKE for this one! Again, I don't hate apple, I don't use their ipad and iphone because they suck. I use them because they are a great product. However, apple is making them worse and worse. IOS is a mess now, and making stupid claims like this one regarding their connecting cords just makes them look like little crybabies.
  • Apple creates more dongles than anyone. This makes products whose utilities are controlled by your need. Apple is guilty of such behavior. It is in their fiduciary interest to do so. Their PR department tells you this every day.
  • The dongles for Macs are just for the transition to USB-C, I've already got some USB-C peripherals where I don't need to use the dongle, and the next iPhone should have USB-C as well.