European Parliament and Council negotiators agreed on the law on Tuesday, saying in a statement that this decision aims to “make EU products more sustainable, reduce electronic waste and make life easier for consumers”.
The law, which has yet to be officially approved, requires all new smartphones, tablets, e-readers and portable speakers – among a long list of other small electronics – sold in the EU to use the USB-like charging port. -VS. The laptop requirement will come into effect in early 2026.
The small, pill-shaped port is already used in many smartphones and laptops, as well as Apple’s latest iPads and some of its previous-generation MacBook laptops.
But the mandate puts Apple in a difficult position, as it has clung to its proprietary “Lightning” port on its iPhones and the charging cases of its AirPods in-ear headphones. The Verge, a technology news site, called European law “a blow to Apple’s Lightning port”.
Much like how California’s environmental and safety standards often cause changes across the United States due to the logistical difficulty and financial impossibility of creating different products for different states, the European Ports Act charging could have a widespread impact on wearable consumer electronics across the world. .
In Germany, the European Union’s largest economy, the three most popular smartphones are all iPhones, according to consumer research to place Counterpoint, with the fourth and fifth being Samsung Galaxy phones that use USB-C ports. In France, the bloc’s second-largest economy, iPhones occupy the top four spots in the smartphone market, calculates Counterpoint.
Apple also recently brought back its proprietary “MagSafe” magnetic charger to its MacBook Pro and announced on Monday that it will do the same with its thinner MacBook Air laptops.
The Post’s support service covered Apple’s announcement of new MacBook and iOS 16 features.
Apple apparently braced for the crackdown, though: Bloomberg News reported Last month, amid the looming possibility of European law, the company tested iPhone models that use USB-C instead of its proprietary port.
Tech critics have lamented Apple’s persistence in maintaining its proprietary ports for years, noting that while many device makers have complied with the USB-C port, Apple’s unique charging stand leaves consumers stuck with a tangle of various cables.
But the EU’s move could stifle innovation efforts to do away with charging ports altogether, such as using magnetic-contact chargers instead of ports to enable extremely thin devices, said Benedict Evans, an analyst at the sector. He wrote on Twitter that it was “difficult to see any meaningful consumer benefit” from the law, which he said banned “certain ideas” such as the exclusive use of magnetic chargers.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening. When the European law was proposed in September, the company said in a statement: “We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating a single type of connector is stifling innovation rather than encouraging it, which its turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.”
When Apple stopped providing wired headphones and wall plugs with its iPhones in 2020, it said the cut was for environmental reasons, though some pointed out it was better for the company’s bottom line.