The US Looks At Europe And Also Wants A Single Charger

For consumer electronics manufacturers, and especially Apple, the battle to keep proprietary ports alive on devices seems lost. To the new European regulation, which will require devices to be charged through a USB-C connection, similar legislation in the US could soon be added.

A group of Democratic senators, including presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have called on the US Commerce Department to create similar legislation. "The EU has acted in the general interest of the public. The United States should do the same," the senators explain in their petition.

The spirit of the proposal is similar to that which has guided the new legislation in the old continent, which should come into force in the fall of 2024. From that date, all consumer electronics manufacturers will have to abandon any exclusive proprietary port for charging or data transfer and offer USB-C as standard. There are certain exceptions for large devices such as laptops. Manufacturers can also keep other types of ports as long as they include a USB-C.

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The justification for this law, according to the European Union, is that the multiplicity of ports and standards contributes to generating a greater amount of electronic waste, since it requires the use of specific cables or adapters. 

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Apple is the main company affected by the change, as its iPhone phones and some of its iPads and accessories use a Lightning connection to charge and transfer data from the device. The company has tried to stop the European law arguing that standardization on a single port harms innovation, since consumer electronics manufacturers will have no incentive to create better charging technologies or ports with more advanced capabilities.

But with the law already approved, the company is expected to change the ports of its devices or bet on an iPhone without ports that is charged exclusively through wireless charging. Although in principle Apple can continue to sell iPhones with a Lightning connection in the US, Asia and other territories, it is not practical to create different versions of the phone.

The iPhones of 2022 are likely to keep the Lightning port, but Apple is expected to remove them in future versions and this year could also end this port in all iPad tablets.

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